State Health Updates: July 24
COVID-19 State Updates
- Maine – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced four additional COVID-19 “swab and send” testing sites, the award of $1 million in federal funding to rural hospitals to increase their labs’ capacity to process COVID-19 tests, and a second round of grants to municipalities to support local COVID-19 public health, education, and prevention efforts.
- Minnesota – The state announced that it continues to make progress on Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan’s five-point plan to limit and stop the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. The plan includes developing new testing criteria, implementing a nurse triage line and utilizing a scheduling software to connect facilities with staffing needs to available staff.
- Montana – The Department of Public Health and Human Services announced $33 million in new grant funding for Montana behavioral health providers impacted by COVID-19. The grants aim to retain existing programs and services, employees, or organizational viability for provision of future services and operations. Funding is being made available through the CARES Act.
- North Carolina
- Governor Roy Cooper announced that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services approved a third vendor to expand free COVID-19 testing to historically marginalized communities that have limited testing sites. Under the new contract, testing will be provided in 23 ZIP codes as part of NCDHHS’ effort to increase access to no-cost COVID-19 testing for African American, Latinx/Hispanic and American Indian communities.
- The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services unveiled an updated COVID-19 Dashboard that includes more granular information about hospital capacity and hospitalization trends, both statewide and broken down by region.
- The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced the launch of a new program to fund community based organizations (CBOs) to help respond to COVID-19 in culturally- and linguistically-responsive ways. OHA will provide 173 CBOs located in every county in the state with $9.4 million in CARES Act funds.
- To help Oregonians understand face covering requirements, the OHA has created a website resource that provides the latest information about face coverings and masks, from requirements to FAQs to tips about how to effectively wear them.
- OHA announced the publication of a COVID-19 test site locator to help Oregonians across the state find testing sites in their community. The interactive map is available on pages in both English and Spanish and can be toggled into multiple other languages.
- The Office of the Insurance Commissioner published a frequently asked questions document on COVID-19 testing in light of new guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Departments of Labor and Treasury.
- Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler extended his emergency order directing all state-regulated health insurers to make additional coverage changes to aid consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. The order is in effect until August 16.
Other State Updates
- District of Columbia – The Department of Health Care Finance announced a notice of intent to award three contracts for the District’s Medicaid managed care program. The proposed awardees are AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia, Inc., MedStar Family Choice, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Plan District of Columbia.
- Oklahoma – Oklahoma Health Care Authority is seeking stakeholder input for the state’s Medicaid program design before finalizing a request for proposals for SoonerCare. OHCA is accepting responses from any interested party including individuals and program participants and providers.
- Oregon – OHA has released its annual Oregon Hospital Payment report as an online dashboard. The report details the median amounts paid by commercial insurers for the most common inpatient and outpatient procedures performed in Oregon hospitals in 2018.
- Wisconsin – The Governor’s Task Force on Reducing Prescription Drug Prices held a two-day virtual hearing. Day one of the convening focused on consumer discount programs and other efforts to increase prescription drug affordability, while the topic of day two was how prescription drug costs have impacted vulnerable populations and strategies employed by other states to lower their costs.