May 6 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • RFI for Section 1332 Waivers
  • FAQs on Blueprint application process
  • State Updates: AZ, CO, ME, MT, NC, NJ, TX & WA
  • Trends and Disparities in Children’s Health Insurance
  • Achieving Health Equity and Wellness for Medicaid Populations
  • Galvanizing Nurses on Social Determinants

RFI for Section 1332 Waivers

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of the Treasury announced a Request for Information (RFI) asking for ideas on innovative programs and waiver concepts that states could consider when developing a Section 1332 waiver application. For an overview, see this blog post by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma. Comments are due by July 2, 2019.

FAQs on Blueprint application process

In case you missed it, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document regarding key revisions to the Blueprint application for states interested in transitioning to a state-based exchange on or after January 1, 2019. The FAQs provide an overview of the new Blueprint application process and includes information on accessing the application through the CMS portal.

State Updates: AZ, CO, ME, MT, NC, NJ, TX & WA

  • Arizona – The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) announced a policy change, effective May 1, 2019, that allows transportation network companies (also known as “rideshare” companies) to register as non-emergency medical transportation providers. Under the new AHCCCS provider category, rideshare companies are eligible to serve Medicaid members who do not require personal assistance during medically necessary transportation.
  • Colorado – Governor Jared Polis signed HB19-1038, which expands dental services to pregnant women who are covered under the state’s Child Health Plan Plus program.
  • Maine – Governor Janet Mills convened the first meeting of the Children’s Cabinet under her Administration, bringing together leaders from across state government. Jean Lambrew, the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, is the Chair of the Children’s Cabinet and announced the establishment of a new Chief Pediatrician for Maine at the meeting who will ensure children receive the full range of health and human services.
  • Montana – Montana Governor Steve Bullock signed legislation authorizing the state to submit a Section 1332 waiver application to establish a state reinsurance program. SHVS updated their map where they track state Section 1332 activity.
  • New Jersey – New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson announced that the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey will develop a program to prescribe buprenorphine, which is a medication-assisted treatment to treat opioid addiction, at syringe access sites in Atlantic City and Asbury Park. The programs are expected to start later this spring.
  • North Carolina – The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Safety are partnering to create a new medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program to reduce the overdose-related deaths of people with an opioid disorder who are re-entering their communities upon leaving prison. The program will be piloted in three corrections facilities.
  • Texas – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission released a report on the state’s women’s health programs. The report, required by the Texas Legislature, outlines the status of the agency’s Healthy Texas Women and Family Planning programs, and also highlights several areas for improvement and goals for the programs going forward.
  • Washington
    • Governor Jay Inslee, in a blog post summarizing the 2019 legislative session that just ended, highlighted the passage of a bill by the Washington legislature that establishes a public option, to be known as Cascade Care.
    • The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) announced AbbVie US LLC as the apparently successful bidder in an undertaking to eliminate hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Washington by 2030. AbbVie was chosen out of several candidates as they provided the best overall portfolio to assist Washington with eliminating HCV and offer a product that will treat about 97 percent of all patients with HCV.

Trends and Disparities in Children’s Health Insurance: New Data and the Implications for State Policy

The State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) published a series of resources, including a new chartbook, 50-state comparison tables, and state-specific profiles, using data from the American Community Survey to examine changes in health insurance coverage from 2016 to 2017 for children nationwide and at the state level, as well as state variation in uninsured rates for children in 2017. The publications also highlight coverage among children as a whole and by race/ethnicity, income, and parental education. Last week Heather Howard presented on a webinar co-hosted with SHADAC, that describes the data, specifically the recent uptick in the rate of uninsured children as well as promising state-level policies that could help improve coverage among this population. Other speakers included Lynn Blewett and Elizabeth Lukanen from SHADAC, Louisiana Medicaid Director Jen Steele, and Alisha Simon from the Minnesota Department of Health. The slides and recording of the webinar can be found here.


Achieving Health Equity and Wellness for Medicaid Populations: A Case Study of CBO Engagement in Delivery System Reform

A new issue brief from AcademyHealth, Health Management Associates, and the Disability Policy Consortium, provides a case study for engaging community-based organizations (CBOs) in Medicaid payment and care delivery system reform efforts. The issue brief focuses on the challenges that CBOs face in participating in Medicaid payment and care delivery system reform in New York and Massachusetts and provides five key lessons from New York City CBOs and reactions to those lessons from CBOs in Massachusetts. Together, these perspectives offer an example of elevating the role of CBOs in achieving health equity and wellness through Medicaid.

Perfectly Positioned: Galvanizing Nurses To Address The Social Determinants Of Health

A recent Health Affairs blog post highlights a new consensus study supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that seeks to gain insights into how nurses are- and can be- change agents to achieve healthier communities. Planned for release at the end of 2020, the study will be conducted by the National Academy of Medicine and help guide nurses and institutions to work together on better understanding and addressing the social determinants of health and the unmet needs of individuals and communities.