May, 26, 2020

State Health Updates: May 22

COVID-19 Updates

  • Addressing Social Risk Factors
    • Arizona – AHCCCS and the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family have made trauma-informed, evidence-based behavioral strategies available to families, educators and communities in partnership with the PAXIS Institute. During the COVID-19 emergency while parents are managing their childrens’ education at home, the PAX Tools Recipes are instructions for individual, evidence-based strategies that can support families through the pandemic and beyond. The strategies have been found to reduce instances of child maltreatment and even reduce the risk of psychiatric disorders and drug misuse.
    • New Jersey – New Jerseyans enrolled in the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be able to use their benefits to order groceries online starting next week. Online shopping will be available through Amazon and participating Walmarts, ShopRites and The Fresh Grocers.
    • Ohio – The Ohio Department of Health announced that it is creating a new position dedicated to social determinants of health and opportunity. The individual in this role will build on several existing efforts to respond to health inequity by working directly with local communities on their specific long-term health needs and Ohio’s response to COVID-19. They will also be responsible for collecting data to inform best practices and for helping to ensure the implementation of the Minority Health Strike Force’s short-term and long-term recommendations. 
    • Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services received approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expedite implementation of online purchasing for the state’s SNAP beneficiaries to support members in safely using their benefits during the pandemic. Households that receive FoodShare will be able to shop online at two grocery retailers.  
  • COVID-19 Testing
    • New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy, Walmart, and Quest Diagnostics announced that seven Walmart stores across New Jersey will open COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites beginning May 22. The testing sites will test adults who meet Centers for Disease Control and state and local criteria on who should be tested, including first responders, health care providers, and others with symptoms of COVID-19, and those in high-risk groups without symptoms. In addition, the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs announced an extension of pharmacists’ role in COVID-19 testing; under the order, pharmacists may administer tests for COVID-19 or its antibodies without a prescription.
    • Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance issued a notice to insurers aimed at clarifying federal requirements detailed in the FFCRA and the CARES acts. The notice states that testing for COVID-19 must be covered by private health insurance, including cost-sharing like co-pays for office, urgent care, and emergency department visits.
  • Promoting Health Insurance Coverage and Access
    • West Virginia – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health is providing free vaccines to eligible children from birth through age 18 through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. The VFC program helps ensure West Virginia’s children will not miss vaccinations due to loss of insurance coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Uninsured and other VFC-eligible children may receive free vaccines at more than 420 participating provider sites. 
  • Special Enrollment Periods
    • Maryland – The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, announced that as of May 15, nearly 31,000 residents across the state have taken advantage of the special enrollment period that began in March with Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement of a State of Emergency in Maryland. Uninsured Marylanders have until June 15 to enroll in coverage under the Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period. 
  • Other
    • Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority announced it has suspended premiums for Insure Oklahoma Individual Plan participants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Premiums will be suspended for at least April, May and June 2020.
    • New York – The state submitted an emergency 1115 demonstration waiver application to CMS. To address the immediate needs made apparent by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is requesting to make three initial investments in: emergency capacity assurance; rapid facility conversion; and regional coordination and workforce deployment.
    • North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced it is distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) packs of needed supplies to all long-term care facilities in the state, and issuing a limited increased rate for some Medicaid services to support infection prevention and management in long-term care facilities.
    • Rhode Island – Governor Gina Raimondo announced the first version of CRUSH COVID RI, the state’s pandemic response mobile app. CRUSH COVID RI provides Rhode Islanders with easy access to all of the resources required during the public health crisis, including a location diary that helps users identify the people and places they are in contact with and a symptom checking survey. 

Other State Updates

  • Michigan – The state submitted an application to CMS for a 10-year extension of its Flint Michigan Section 1115 demonstration which expands Medicaid coverage to all pregnant women and children up to age 21 with incomes up to 400 percent of FPL, who are currently served by the Flint water system or were served by the Flint water system beginning April 2014. All Flint Michigan demonstration beneficiaries receive full Medicaid state plan benefits, including, for children, Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefits. The federal comment period is open through June 17, 2020.
  • Nebraska – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will begin offering benefits through Medicaid Heritage Health Adult Expansion on October 1, 2020. The state will begin accepting applications on August 1, 2020, through or at the nearest DHHS office.
  • New Jersey – The Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, announced its intent to seek federal approval for a Medicaid State Plan Amendment to cover care management services for individuals with a primary substance use disorder with a co-occurring psychiatric severe mental illness or chronic condition.
  • Washington – Governor Jay Inslee reiterated his support for Cascade Care, the proposed public option, in a letter to Washington State Health Care Authority Director Sue Birch and Washington State Health Benefit Exchange CEO Pam MacEwan.