March 18 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • HHS Addresses Data Breach Incident
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data Collection
  • State updates: AK, AR, AZ, CA, IL, KY, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OR & UT
  • Insights on federal healthcare priorities
  • Using SNAP to power Medicaid renewals

HHS Addresses Data Breach Incident
Last week, HHS’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a letter addressing the cybersecurity incident impacting Change Healthcare that is disrupting healthcare and billing information operations nationwide. OCR enforces the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, which sets forth the requirements that HIPAA covered entities must follow to protect the privacy and security of protected health information and the required notifications to HHS and affected individuals following a breach.

 

Insights on Federal Healthcare Priorities
A new SHVS expert perspective summarizes two recent events that provided insight into federal priorities in Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. On March 9, Congress passed and the President signed a “minibus” funding bill, funding about half of the government agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2024 and deferring action until March 22 for remaining agencies. And on March 11, the White House released the President’s Budget for FY 2025, articulating the Biden administration’s healthcare policy priorities for the upcoming year. The expert perspective reviews the healthcare policies and programs recently funded by Congress for FY 2024 as well as the Biden administration’s stated healthcare priorities for FY 2025.

The Global Fight Against Antimicrobial Resistance
The latest episode of the Princeton Pulse, tackles one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity: antimicrobial resistance, often called AMR. For this episode, Heather Howard is joined by Ramanan Laxminarayan, an environmental economist, epidemiologist, and lecturer at Princeton, as well as the founder and president of One Health Trust, a public health research organization; and Dr. Martin Blaser, a physician, microbiologist, and professor at Rutgers University, where he directs the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine. The conversation addresses how AMR affects food security, the economy, health equity, and our ability to fight future pandemics. Heather and Dr. Martin also discuss the United Nations’ upcoming meeting which will gather world leaders this September to create a coordinated action plan.

Using SNAP to Power Medicaid Renewals
Medicaid unwinding highlighted many opportunities for states to enhance and improve their Medicaid renewal processes, and many states have taken advantage of the 1902(e)(14)(A) waivers that allow a state to enroll or renew individuals based on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility. On March 20 at 1:00 pm ET, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will host a webinar for state agencies to discuss available options to best leverage SNAP data for Medicaid renewals. While these waivers are expected to sunset at the end of 2024, states can continue to leverage SNAP information to complete ex parte renewals by transitioning to various other strategies depending on their state’s setup.

 

State updates: AK, AR, AZ, CA, IL, KY, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OR & UT  

  • Alaska – The Alaska Department of Health posted several resources for providers affected by the cyberattack impacting Change Healthcare, including claim submission options and options to check members’ eligibility.
  • Arizona – The Arizona Department of Health Services announced Eugene Livar, MD as the first-ever statewide Chief Heat Officer. Dr. Livar will oversee the implementation of the governor’s Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan and work to coordinate partnerships between the state, county health departments, local municipalities, communities, the private sector, and community-based organizations.
  • Arkansas – Governor Sarah Sanders signed an executive order aimed at improving maternal health. The executive order establishes the Arkansas Strategic Committee for Maternal Health, which will engage stakeholders to support the development of a statewide strategic maternal health plan—including strategies to increase access to quality maternal health services and improve statewide coordination for maternal health data and reporting.
  • California – The Department of Health Care Services awarded $67 million to 99 organizations to expand early intervention programs and practices that provide mental health and wellness services to the youth.
  • Illinois – Governor JB Pritzker announced Morgan Winters will serve as the State-Based Marketplace Director within the Illinois Department of Insurance. Winters most recently served as the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer for MNsure, Minnesota’s health insurance Marketplace. Congrats Morgan!
  • Kentucky – Governor Andy Beshear announced updates to FindHelpNowKy.org, a website that helps Kentuckians obtain naloxone, which is used to reverse opioid overdose. The website, which has been used over 240,000 times to help Kentuckians find addiction treatment facilities since its inception in 2018, now includes a recovery housing locator, mental health treatment facilities, and social services resources.
  • Maryland – Governor Wes Moore announced that the Maryland Department of Health awarded $13.5 million in grants to 19 jurisdictions across the state to help promote health equity and improve access to behavioral health crisis services for its residents. The grants will fund pilot programs to expand and improve mobile crisis team services and establish behavioral health crisis stabilization centers, which provide high quality, person-centered services.
  • Massachusetts – The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced the launch of a community grant program for substance-use disorder (SUD) prevention, recovery, and treatment. The administration is investing more than $5 million annually in this grantmaking program, with the goal of increasing the equitable allocation of Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund grants to organizations and municipalities that otherwise could not apply for funding. RIZE, a public-private partnership focused on ending the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts, will proactively reach out to potential grantees and support them through the grantmaking process.
  • Michigan – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is seeking public input on potential in lieu of services (ILOS) options to address food insecurity and increase access to healthy foods. Through a request for information, MDHHS is seeking input on proposed service definitions for the following four potential ILOS: medically tailored home delivered meal; healthy home delivered meal; healthy food pack; and produce prescription. Feedback will be used to refine ILOS definitions prior to submission for federal approval and implementation.
  • Missouri – The Missouri Department of Social Services announced the Maternal Health Access Project (MHAP), a new statewide perinatal psychiatry access program. Any healthcare provider in the state who sees patients in the perinatal period may enroll in MHAP to receive education and support in treating the mental and behavioral health conditions of their perinatal patients. Providers enrolled in MHAP can access same-day consultation with a perinatal psychiatrist, care coordination services, and educational materials and training on topics related to perinatal mental health.
  • New Jersey – The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance announced that New Jerseyans will have the ability to connect to health coverage when filing their 2023 State Income Tax return. Beginning this year, residents can complete the NJ-EZ Enroll Form and will receive a welcome notice from GetCoveredNJ, the state’s official health insurance Marketplace, with a unique access code that allows them to access their Marketplace account with 60 days to enroll in a health plan. As a reminder, SHVS has a resource page of state materials on facilitated enrollment programs, including tax return-based enrollment programs.
  • New York – Governor Kathy Hochul announced that health insurers were directed to follow new protocols and assist healthcare providers to ensure New Yorkers have access to uninterrupted healthcare services after the cyberattack on Change Healthcare. The Department of Financial Services issued a letter to health insurers providing guidance on how they should work with providers, which may include suspending certain utilization review requirements, appeal timeframes, claim submission timeframes, and eligibility verifications.
  • North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced the launch of Inclusion Connects, an initiative to better connect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families with community-based services. Inclusion Connects will provide better access to the various supports and services available through Medicaid.
  • Oregon – The Oregon Prescription Drug Affordability Board is hosting a series of community forums to help the board with direction on how to move forward with the rising costs of prescription drugs. The meetings are open to the public to learn more about prescription drug costs, and tell their story of how costly prescriptions have affected their health, budget, and lives.
  • Utah – CMS approved amendments to Utah’s Medicaid Reform 1115 demonstration, giving the state authority to provide fertility preservation services to certain people diagnosed with cancer, as well as in vitro fertilization and genetic testing services for individuals with certain genetic traits. The amendment also approves an increase in the premium subsidy amount for individuals eligible for coverage under the state’s CHIP premium assistance program and adds four risk factors that would be considered under the Housing Related Services and Supports program, which provides coverage of tenancy support, community transition, and supportive living services to eligible individuals.