April 27, 2018: Congressional activity on the opioid epidemic; New webinar on Medicaid buy-in; Trauma informed practice resources for states

Weekly updates on the latest state-level health care news from Heather Howard, program director of State Health and Value Strategies.

There was a flurry of activity surrounding the opioid epidemic in Washington D.C. this week as both the House and Senate advanced measures, which have states optimistic about the prospect of additional federal funding for the crisis. The Kaiser Health News Podcast, What the Health (starts at 7:11) has a good summary of the activity in Congress this week. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Accelerator Program announced it is launching a new technical support opportunity for state Medicaid agencies through the Reducing Substance Use Disorder program area with an information session scheduled for May 2. And as a reminder, State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) recently published Medicaid: The Linchpin in State Strategies to Prevent and Address Opioid Use Disorders, which highlights Medicaid’s role in states’ efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Updates follow.

  • Alabama – Alabama Medicaid released a request for proposals for the Integrated Care Network program and is seeking a contractor to administer a case management system which will promote a person-centered approach to care delivery that will allow recipients to receive long-term services and supports in the least restrictive setting of their choice.
  • California – A new issue brief released by Covered California examines five years of nationwide enrollment data for insurance marketplaces and compares enrollment trends in the federally facilitated marketplaces to those in state-based marketplaces.
  • Florida – The Agency for Health Care Administration announced its intent to award contracts to nine health plans as a result of the re-procurement of the Medicaid Managed Care program, which is required every five years.
  • Nevada – Heather Korbulic, the Director of Nevada Health Link, the state’s official health insurance marketplaces, spoke to NASHP this week about the state’s planned move from the federal platform to an entirely state-run exchange.
  • New Jersey – Governor Phil Murphy announced the creation of the Office of the Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families, serving as the administration’s lead advocate and ally for New Jersey residents in need of critical services.
  • New York – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a comprehensive initiative to target maternal mortality and reduce racial disparities in health outcomes which includes the creation of a taskforce on maternal mortality and disparate racial outcomes and a pilot that will expand Medicaid coverage for doulas, the non-medical birth coaches who assist women during birth.
  • Virginia – Governor Ralph Northam announcedMonday that the Department of Medical Assistance Services ARTS program that addresses opioid addiction and other substance use disorders has generated significant results in its first year, increasing access to treatment and reducing the burden on hospital emergency departments.
  • Wisconsin – The Department of Health Services awarded a $500,000 annual grant to the University of Wisconsin system to help create an addiction medicine consultation line that will provide doctors with real-time guidance on how to treat patients who may have a substance use disorder.
  • Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Puerto and Rhode Island – the Governors from these states announced the nation’s first regional gun violence research consortium, which will bring together thought leaders and researchers from partner states to undertake new research on gun violence, data collection and analysis to provide the public, including policymakers, with information and strategies to reduce gun violence. I was asked to participate and am excited to represent both New Jersey and Princeton as a member of the consortium.

Upcoming Webinar – Save the Date!

Medicaid Buy-In: State Options and Design Considerations

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. ET

In recent months, several proposals have been introduced at both the federal and state levels that would permit people above Medicaid eligibility levels to “buy in” to Medicaid or would leverage the Medicaid program to strengthen coverage across the individual market and Medicaid. In this webinar, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s SHVS program, together with technical assistance experts from Manatt Health, will examine the central considerations that a state must take into account when developing a Medicaid buy-in proposal, the primary models for state-administered Medicaid buy-in proposals, and the administrative considerations and authorities needed for each model. The webinar will also review Section 1332 waiver authority and related deficit neutrality and pass-through funding implications that states will want to consider as they craft their buy-in proposals. We will also highlight states’ current efforts to develop buy-in initiatives.

Registration (required) at the following link: https://rwjfevents.webex.com/rwjfevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=eb1fa4e39a01c80dd6f69164068b3b01b

Understanding Short-Term Limited Duration Health Insurance

Monday marked the deadline for the submission of comments on the proposed rules to expand the availability of health coverage sold through short-term, limited duration insurance (STDLI). The Kaiser Family Foundation published an issue brief earlier this week that provides an overview on STDLI and digs into how short-term policies compare to minimum essential coverage with a table that illustrates to what extent short-term products across all 50 states and the District cover select benefits. As a reminder, Sabrina Corlette from Georgetown’s Center for Health Insurance Reforms authored an expert perspective for SHVS that summarizes the proposed rules and discusses options for states.

Trauma Informed Practices and Policies: Resources for States

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) just published a post on the CHCS blog that highlights efforts at the state and federal level to reduce trauma and toxic stress and promote trauma-informed practice. The blog post profiles two resources states can look to for strategies to promote trauma-informed approaches and also details a resolution approved by the House of Representatives that recognizes the importance of trauma-informed care within federal programs and agencies. Lastly, CHCS discusses some of the major philanthropic investments that are being made to support the dissemination of trauma informed practice and policies.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams in Conversation with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Rich Besser

The United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams joined Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) President and CEO Rich Besser to discuss how the power of partnerships can help transform communities and advance equity. Dr. Adams visited RWJF recently and discussed his role in building a Culture of Health. A post on RWJF’s Culture of Health blog highlights some of the takeaways from the conversation which touched on, among other issues, how to intervene upstream to address the nation’s opioid epidemic.