July 13 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • Protecting Farmworkers During COVID-19
  • COVID-19 State Updates: MD, NE, NC & OR
  • Other State Updates: LA, NC, OR, VA, WA & WI
  • Webinar: COVID-19 and Open Enrollment
  • Updates to Buying Value Measure Selection Tool
  • 2021 Health Care Cost Model
  • Lowering Infant Mortality in Alabama


Protecting Farmworkers During COVID-19

Last week, State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) published an expert perspective on the steps states are taking to protect farmworkers from COVID-19. While efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have been difficult in all environments, the conditions for those working in agricultural production raise additional challenges. Essential Workers in Challenging Environments: How States Are Working to Protect Farmworkers provides a survey of state and local policies and outlines some key themes and recommendations for policymakers as they work to support agricultural workers and stem the spread of COVID-19.


COVID-19 State Updates: MD, NE, NC & OR

  • Maryland – The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange announced it is entering the final week for Marylanders to enroll in health insurance coverage through the Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period and the Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program. Individuals have until July 15 to enroll in coverage. Nearly 53,000 residents have enrolled since mid-March.
  • Nebraska – The state updated its COVID-19 dashboard this week to include race and ethnicity data.  
  • North Carolina
    • The Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) issued a Request For Proposals for an initiative that will send up to 250 community health workers to historically underserved areas with high COVID-19 caseloads. Starting in August, teams of trained frontline public health professionals will connect North Carolinians affected by COVID-19 with needed services and support.
    • NCDHHS issued a Statewide Standing Order on COVID-19 diagnostic testing. The order allows testing sites to collect and submit samples to a laboratory for COVID-19 testing without requiring a specific order and authorizes testing sites to receive results directly from laboratories. This will aid community-based testing sites and reduce barriers to testing, especially for members of historically marginalized populations who may be less likely to have a medical home.
  • Oregon – The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services extended its emergency order for health insurance companies through August 2, 2020. The order requires health insurance companies to provide at least a 60-day grace period to pay any past-due premiums, pay claims for any covered services during the first 30 days of the grace period, extend all deadlines for reporting claims and other communications, and provide members with communication options that meet physical distancing standards. SHVS also has an expert perspective on state decisions to extend grace periods.


Other State Updates: LA, NC, OR, VA, WA & WI

  • Louisiana – The Louisiana Department of Health, in partnership with Adaptation Health, issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the Louisiana Medicaid Innovation Challenge. The Innovation Challenge supports Louisiana Medicaid by identifying market-ready solutions to engage members through the appropriate use of technology. 
  • North Carolina – NCDHHS announced that the state’s NCCARE360 technology platform is now available statewide. NCCARE360 is used to coordinate whole-person care and unites traditional health care settings with organizations that address nonmedical drivers of health such as food, housing, transportation, employment, and interpersonal safety.
  • Oregon – The Oregon Health Authority hosted a public meeting on July 9 of the PartnerSHIP, which is tasked with developing the 2020-2024 State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). The meeting reviewed priority populations and recommendation to center Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); provided feedback on an implementation framework; and reviewed and approved final strategies.
  • Virginia – The Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services announced two new dashboards that support the agency’s goals for greater transparency and gives stakeholders access to key financial information about the state’s managed care programs that oversee 98 percent of the state’s 1.6 million Medicaid members.
  • Washington – The Health Care Authority announced that through the state’s Cascade Care public option procurement process it has identified five carriers as apparently successful bidders. The agency will review the bids and enter contract negotiations to ensure residents are able to enroll in a Cascade Care plan beginning November 1.
  • Wisconsin  — The Department of Health Services (DHS) is inviting interested organizations to apply to pilot a new hub and spoke model intended to help Wisconsin Medicaid members with substance use disorders and other physical and behavioral health issues that challenge their efforts in recovery.


Webinar: COVID-19 and Open Enrollment

Wednesday, July 15 at 1:00 p.m. EST

As part one of a two-part SHVS webinar series focusing on COVID-19 implications for open enrollment, this webinar will highlight how states should consider a range of factors related to the COVID-19 public health crisis and adapt strategies as they plan their open enrollment outreach and education campaigns. It will also discuss how to ground these efforts in terms of audience targeting and messaging. Experts from GMMB will review the landscape and communications considerations, and state officials from marketplaces that operationalized special enrollment periods in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will share lessons learned that can help inform planning for open enrollment period 2021. This webinar will include a question and answer session during which webinar participants can pose their questions to the experts on the line.

Registration (required) at the following link: https://rwjfevents.webex.com/rwjfevents/onstage/g.php?MTID=e8bbb9918972e7c6dd111f10553c18dc0


New Updates to Buying Value Measure Selection Tool

SHVS, in collaboration with technical experts at Bailit Health, maintain the Buying Value Measure Selection Tool and Buying Value Benchmark Repository, two resources that support state efforts to design and implement aligned quality measure sets. The Buying Value Measure Selection Tool has been updated to include nearly 750 measures, with the most up-to-date version of 13 federal and other national measure sets and six state measure sets. Users can filter through measures based on their National Quality Forum endorsement status (as of early 2020), domain, condition, population, measure type, data source, and disparities-sensitive status, and can score measures against a set of measure selection criteria. The Buying Value Benchmark Repository, launched in 2018, now includes nearly 60 measures from seven state purchasers and regional health improvement collaboratives focused on preventive care, hospitals, chronic illness care, social determinants of health, care coordination, and more. If you have any measures that might be good candidates, please email Deepti at dkanneganti@bailit-health.com.


2021 Health Care Cost Model

The Society of Actuaries (SOA), with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, created the SOA 2021 Health Care Cost Model to enable users to estimate future U.S. health care insurance costs. The COVID-19 outbreak creates many new scenarios that affect costs now and will affect costs in the future. The SOA model allows a user to consider a variety of scenarios and create inputs that can forecast the effect on the health care service system. Commercial insurance estimates and Medicaid estimates are included in the tool. The model will be updated periodically to reflect the latest data on both the outbreak and insurance health care costs. In support of the model, the SOA has produced a user guide, user training video, model documentation guide, and a report, Illustrative Forecasts of the Impact of COVID-19 on Health Care Costs, which documents outputs of using the model.


How Alabama Lowered Its Infant Mortality Rate

The Milbank Memorial Fund has published an article that reviews how Alabama, which has persistently had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the United States, has made significant strides in lowering its rate. In 2017 Alabama saw a nearly 20 percent drop in its infant mortality rate and in 2018 it dropped for the second consecutive year, thanks in part to the state’s revitalized perinatal regionalization program. Perinatal regionalization is an approach to lowering maternal and infant mortality that facilitates care coordination across health facilities, helping to ensure babies are born in, or transferred to, hospitals that can provide the appropriate level of care for them. The Milbank article examines Alabama’s program structure and its implementation challenges and offers lessons to state leaders looking to establish similar programs.