March 18 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • Update on Medicaid Buy-in
  • Seema Verma, Two Years In
  • State Updates: DE, LA, ME, NY, OH, OR, PA, & VA
  • Q&A with Louisiana’s Medicaid Director
  • Opioids’ Impact on Children and Families



Update on Medicaid Buy-in

Last week Heather Howard spoke on a panel about Medicaid buy-in and states as laboratories of health reform. For those of you interested in learning more about Medicaid buy-in, or public option, as some states refer to it, check out SHVS’s map that tracks state activity. SHVS updates it regularly to reflect the latest developments and new proposals coming out of your states.

Two Years for Seema

Also, last week marks two years that Seema Verma has been in the role of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator and she shared her thoughts on her tenure to date, and her policy vision for CMS, during an interview with Politico’s Women Rule podcast. In case you missed it, CMS released new guidance and a set of tools for states applying for and evaluating Section 1115 demonstration waivers that establish work and community engagement requirements as a condition of Medicaid eligibility.

State Updates: DE, LA, ME, NY, OH, OR, PA, & VA

  • Delaware
    • The Division of Public Health announced the launch of a new smartphone app that provides step-by-step instructions on how to use naloxone during an opioid overdose. OpiRescue Delaware is a free, state-supported app that contains detailed information on how to recognize signs of an overdose, and includes animations on how to provide rescue breathing and administer naloxone.
    • The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health is hosting a free training session March 29-31 for Delaware parents, other adult family members and caregivers willing to coach families who have loved ones struggling with substance use disorder and mental health issues.
  • Louisiana – The Louisiana Department of Health announced it received bids from three manufacturers of hepatitis C medications in response to the solicitation for offers for the state’s subscription model announced earlier this year. The state anticipates announcing an intent to award one or more of the manufacturers the contract in April 2019.
  • Maine – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced updates on activities related to MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program. As of March 8, more than 10,000 people have enrolled in MaineCare under expansion.
  • New York – NY State of Health, the state’s official health insurance Marketplace, released 2019 health plan enrollment by insurer. Twelve insurers offer qualified health plans (QHP) and sixteen insurers offer the state’s essential plan (EP) statewide in 2019. Most consumers have a choice of at least four QHP and EP insurers in every county of the state.
  • Ohio – Governor  Mike DeWine released recommendations of how to increase the state’s investment in home visiting programs and announced the formation of a pilot public-private partnership aimed at increasing the availability of, and participation in, home visiting programs.
  • Oregon – Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2010 into law which will provide more than $400 million in funding for Medicaid and extends operations of the state’s reinsurance program.
  • Pennsylvania – The Department of Human Services is exploring the possibility of using Medicaid funds to pay for primary prevention measures that focus on identifying and reducing the sources of environmental childhood lead exposure.
  • Virginia – Governor Ralph Northam and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services announced that all 40 Community Services Boards (CSBs) in the commonwealth will offer residents in need of a mental health evaluation access at any CSB throughout Virginia without an appointment.


Upcoming Webinar – Leveraging Multi-Payer Claims Databases for Value

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET

More states are leveraging multi-payer claims databases to better understand how their health care systems are operating and implementing data-driven decision-making. States may not be aware, however, of the strategies other states and organizations are adopting to leverage claims databases to support health care transformation goals. State Health and Value Strategies, in partnership with the Peterson Center on Healthcare, will host a webinar on the ways in which several states and one community organization are using their multi-payer claims databases. During the webinar, presenters from the state of Vermont and Rhode Island, as well as the Washington Health Alliance, will discuss how they are employing claims databases to enhance the value of care and will share lessons learned for those seeking to optimize their own databases.

Registration (required) at the following link:


Louisiana’s Medicaid Director Talks About Improving Outcomes and Reducing Disparities

The Center for Health Care Strategies sat down with Louisiana’s Medicaid Director, Jen Steele, a current Medicaid Leadership Institute fellow, for a Q&A blog post. Following the expansion of Medicaid in the state in 2016, Louisiana has enrolled 502,647 new adults. As Jen explains in the blog post, maximizing Medicaid’s opportunities to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities is a critical motivator behind her work and she shares how Louisiana’s Medicaid program is focusing on population health, health inequity issues, and social determinants of health.


The Ripple Effect: The Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Children and Families

A new report published by the United Hospital Fund, with support from the Milbank Memorial Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, lays out findings from research on the magnitude of the opioid epidemic’s impact on children and adolescents whose parents have substance use disorders. The report offers a comprehensive look at the successive waves of loss and trauma experienced by newborns, young children, adolescents, and their families and also looks at the needs of kinship caregivers, typically grandparents, who often step in to care for these children. The authors layout a blueprint for action aimed at public and private agencies and professionals that includes identifying children at risk as early as possible and ensuring that government and private agencies work as a team.