On Thursday, August 12, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health and Health Equity Solutions provided an overview of the strategies states can pursue in partnership with community-based organizations to reduce disparities in COVID-19 vaccine uptake, and in the longer term, to build a more equitable and sustainable public health system. While more than 20 states and the District of Columbia reached the Biden administration’s goal of administering one or more COVID-19 vaccine doses to at least 70 percent of adults by early July, wide variation in vaccination rates persists across communities within these states and among the 30 states still working to reach this goal. This variation in vaccination rates at the community level translates to disparities across racial and ethnic groups, as most states continue to have disparities in vaccination rates between Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and white populations. States and their community partners are implementing a broad range of distribution and outreach strategies to improve vaccine equity and are looking to build sustainable infrastructure and capacity to advance health equity within state and local public health and health care delivery systems.
On Tuesday, June 22, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on innovative measures that states have developed to address their program priorities. States are responsible for ensuring that their Medicaid programs are delivering high-quality, high-value care, but there are not always nationally-endorsed measures focused on states’ areas of interest. The webinar featured state officials from the Oregon Health Authority and Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, who discussed their experiences developing and implementing homegrown measures in their state Medicaid programs.
On Monday, June 14, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Manatt Health provided an overview and considerations on the state option to provide community mobile crisis interventions services included in American Rescue Plan. Presenters walked through key questions on the new option, reviewed promising models for crisis mobile intervention services, and shared strategies for equitable design and implementation. The webinar also included a question and answer session during which webinar participants posed their questions to the experts on the line.
On Tuesday, March 23, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar to discuss how to best communicate with consumers and other stakeholders so residents can take full advantage of new financial help through the Marketplace, free COBRA plans, and more provided by the American Rescue Plan. The webinar was the third in a series that SHVS is hosting on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Experts from GMMB walked through key questions to consider, thoughts on audience segmentation, initial messaging and potential outreach tactics. We also heard from states on their real-time communication plans for rollout.
On Tuesday, March 16, State Health and Value Strategies hosted the second of three webinars to address key provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation package was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. The legislation is wide-ranging, seeking to support Americans as we continue to recover from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. This second webinar, with experts from Manatt Health, reviewed key Medicaid provisions and state/local relief funding included in the COVID-19 relief package. Presenters also discussed considerations for state policymakers as they look to implement the American Rescue Plan, and how some proposals that did not end up in the final legislation could foreshadow future policy priorities.
On Friday, March 12, State Health and Value Strategies hosted the first of three webinars to address key provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The $1.9 trillion budget reconciliation package was signed into law by President Biden on March 11. The bill is wide-ranging, seeking to support Americans as we continue to recover from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. The first webinar explored changes to private insurance, including Marketplaces. Tax expert Jason Levitis and Joel Ario from Manatt Health explored the premium tax credit changes and COBRA subsidy and outlined decision points for state policymakers and consumers.
On Wednesday, February 24, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on analyzing health disparities in Medicaid managed care. Health disparities are a key indicator of health equity and understanding health care disparities is a critical component of informing systems changes to improve health care outcomes. Stratifying performance data by race, ethnicity, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation can inform targeted interventions to reduce health care disparities; yet many states lack complete and reliable data to do so. During the webinar, experts from Bailit Health discussed how states can use performance rates and disparities analyses from Medicaid managed care programs in other states to determine where disparities are likely to exist in their own state and develop interventions.
On Thursday, January 21 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on the long-awaited guidance to state Medicaid and CHIP agencies on resuming normal operations following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. During the webinar experts from Manatt Health discussed the sub-regulatory guidance and the implications for states, in light of the recent public health emergency renewal by Secretary Azar. The webinar reviewed the expectations laid out in the guidance related to timelines, consumer communications, and fair hearing processes for redetermining Medicaid eligibility for those who have had their coverage continuously maintained as a condition of receiving the temporary 6.2 percent FMAP increase under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Additionally, presenters discussed the expected processes and timelines for terminating, or making permanent where allowable, temporary federal flexibilities that were obtained.
In the waning days of 2020, Congress enacted a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package and government funding bill. Included in the measure is the “No Surprises Act,” which contains new protections for consumers from surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers. State Health & Value Strategies hosted a webinar during which experts from Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Manatt Health, and tax expert Jason Levitis reviewed the provisions of this legislation and their implications for states. The webinar reviewed the No Surprises Act and provided an overview of the next steps for implementing the federal balance billing protections and what the law will mean for state-level protections. Additionally, presenters discussed a number of other key health care provisions, including state and locality funding for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and testing as well as policy changes to the Provider Relief Fund, and the impact of additional unemployment compensation and relief payments on eligibility for financial assistance for health coverage.
On Tuesday, December 15 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on how states can support children and youth with special health care needs during COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant health and economic hardships for many children and families. Children who receive health services in school settings to support their education are losing access to those services. In addition, a pre-COVID-19 shortage of home health providers has worsened due to the pandemic, placing a significant burden on families who rely on home health services. The result can lead to gaps in care and caregiver burnout, putting children and youth with special health care needs at risk of regression and long-term negative health outcomes. Recognizing these risks, states and the federal government have broadly expanded telehealth coverage, established continuous coverage requirements and eased regulatory requirements for delivery of services. The webinar, produced by Manatt Health with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Family Voices, and the Georgetown Center for Children and Families with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, explored strategies for state Medicaid agencies to enforce coverage requirements and make permanent the temporary regulatory flexibilities that have expanded access to services during the pandemic.