May, 12, 2020

State Health Updates: May 8, 2020

COVID-19 State Updates

  • Addressing Social Risk Factors
    • Delaware – The Division of Social Services was approved by the United States Department of Agriculture to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that provides assistance to families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.
    • New Mexico – New Mexico families will receive more than $97 million in additional food benefits, enough to feed about 245,000 children, following federal approval of a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program. The New Mexico Human Services Department and the Public Education Department submitted the request jointly to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Bulletins and Notices to Providers
  • State Recovery and Reopening Plans
    • Louisiana – The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, under the direction of Governor John Bel Edwards, and in collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Health, has activated a new, web-based program to assist businesses and religious organizations with safely resuming operations as the public health emergency due to COVID-19 continues. allows business owners and church leaders to register in order to receive information on what phase their business and/or church is considered, what phase the state is in as Louisiana moves through phases of return and what social distancing and sanitation guidelines are required for their specific operation in each phase. 
    • Maine – Governor Janet Mills announced that she is convening an Economic Recovery Committee. The thirty-seven member Committee includes representatives of small businesses, non-profits, financial institutions, unions, municipalities, tribal and immigrant communities, hospitality and tourism industries, and educational institutions as well as a bipartisan delegation of legislative designees.
  • Testing
    • Arizona – AHCCCS is directing providers to seek reimbursement for COVID-19 testing and treatment of uninsured Arizonans through the federal HRSA web portal. AHCCCS had received federal approval and was working on a separate eligibility category to cover the cost of COVID testing for uninsured individuals in Arizona. Following the announcement of the federal portal, and the added benefit of payment for treatment as well, AHCCCS is suspending that effort.
    • West Virginia – Governor Jim Justice announced that an effort to test all residents and staff members at every assisted living facility in West Virginia is underway. The action came after the Governor’s Executive Order made West Virginia the first state in the nation to require all-inclusive assisted living facility testing statewide.
  • Other
    • Colorado
      • United States Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) wrote Congressional leadership requesting an additional round of Medicaid FMAP enhancement in the next COVID-19 legislative package to provide states with expeditious fiscal relief. The Senators call for this enhancement to bring the total FMAP enhancement for Medicaid up to 12 percentage points.
      • In order to reduce the spread of illness and number of deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the Colorado Unified Command Center (UCC) has launched a Residential Care Task Force.
    • Michigan – Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2020-5, creating the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability within the State Budget Office. The Accountability Office will provide oversight of all spending to address this crisis, and must report regularly on its work to the governor and the state budget director. 
    • New York – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that 35 counties have been approved to resume elective outpatient treatments. The Governor previously announced that the state will allow elective outpatient treatments to resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of COVID-19 surge in the near term.
    • Ohio – Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, Governor DeWine announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio’s General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30. Because Ohio is mandated to balance its budget each year, DeWine announced, in addition to identifying areas of savings, budget reductions to be made for the next two months, which include a reduction of 0 million to Medicaid. (Ambien)

Other State Updates

  • Nebraska – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will hold a public hearing via conference call on Monday, May 18 to receive additional comments on proposed changes to regulations that govern hospital services under Nebraska’s Medicaid program. The proposed changes include a new process for public comments and a public hearing before any new rate methodology is made effective. 
  • Oregon – The Oregon Health Authority noticed the schedule for 2020-2024 State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) subcommittee meetings. Oregon’s SHIP identifies interventions and strategies to address health-related priorities in the state and serves as a basis for taking collective action with cross-sector partners to improve the health of people in Oregon. The subcommittees are tasked with identifying strategies and measures, and developing work plans for implementing the SHIP. All meetings are virtual and open to the public.
  • Texas – Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Phil Wilson announced that Stephanie Stephens will head the state’s Medicaid/CHIP Services division. She previously served as HHSC’s deputy state Medicaid director. Congratulations Stephanie!