September 21 Update: Surgeon General’s “spotlight” on opioids; Medicaid expansion literature review; measuring health care in rural areas

This week, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams released a new “spotlight” report on opioid addiction, Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Spotlight on Opioids, which calls for a cultural shift in the way Americans talk about the opioid crisis and recommends actions that can prevent and treat opioid misuse and promote recovery. The Spotlight also provides the latest data on prevalence of substance misuse, opioid misuse, opioid use disorder, and overdoses. And, in case you missed it, this week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also awarded over $1 billion in opioid-specific grants to states to help combat the crisis. The awards support HHS’s Five-Point Opioid Strategy, which was launched last year and enhanced this week. Updates follow.

  • Maryland – The Maryland Health Connection, Maryland’s state-based exchange, published a blog post explaining how consumers can make the most of Medicaid coverage in the state. The post includes a chart to help determine eligibility and provides information once consumers are enrolled.
  • Massachusetts
    • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is soliciting public comments through October 17 on a proposal submitted by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services for a new Duals Demonstration 2.0 that would include both the One Care demonstration for dually eligible individuals under age 65, and the Senior Care Options Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan program for dually eligible individuals ages 65 and older.
    • The Massachusetts Health Connector released a statement announcing that its Board of Directors approved 57 Qualified Health Plans from nine carriers for individuals and families, with premium increases that average under 5 percent from 2018. In addition, the Health Connector shared that 16 community groups from around Massachusetts have been selected as Navigator organizations.
  • Minnesota – MNSure, Minnesota’s state-run health insurance exchange, announced its outreach efforts exceeded goals this past fiscal year and noted that as a state-based exchange, was able to shield itself from federal budgetary cuts to consumer outreach efforts. The announcement also highlights that the state extended this year’s open enrollment period to a month longer than those states operating on a federally-facilitated marketplace.
  • New Jersey – The New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) launched a new web-based dashboard which provides in-depth information about the demographics and performance metrics of NJ FamilyCare. DMAHS plans to continuously update the site and add new features in the coming months.
  • New Mexico – The Human Services Department will be hosting a series of Centennial Care public events this month. The events are an opportunity to learn about updates to the Medicaid program and obtain information on the Managed Care Organizations that will be providing Centennial Care services starting January 1, 2019.
  • New York – NY State of Health, New York’s state-based marketplace, posted a training to help assistors learn how to submit account specific information on an encrypted spreadsheet. The macro enabled spreadsheet is called the Account Review Template and will allow assistors to streamline the account review process and make it easier for them to communicate with the New York State Department of Health.
  • North Carolina – The Department of Health and Human Services announced flexibility for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to help those affected by Hurricane Florence. If a local WIC agency is closed or significantly affected, participants will have one month of food benefits automatically loaded into their eWIC benefit account.

Upcoming Webinar—Save the Date!

Measure Selection, Alignment and Performance Benchmarking: A New Resource for States
Friday, October 12, 2018 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET   

SHVS will host a webinar, facilitated by experts at Bailit Health, on a new suite of publicly available resources that support states in their measure selection, alignment and performance benchmarking efforts. The Buying Value Benchmark Repository builds upon the Buying Value Measure Selection Tool and is a downloadable database of non-HEDIS and modified HEDIS measures that states and regional health improvement collaboratives are using for reporting, payment or other purposes. During the webinar, technical experts from Bailit Health will provide an overview of the repository and discuss how states can both utilize the tool and contribute measures to it.
Registration (required) at the following link:

New SHVS Resource for States: Medicaid Expansion Literature Review

In case you missed it, this week SHVS published a new resource for states, The Effects of Medicaid Expansion under the ACA: Select Articles Published Between January 1, 2018 and August 31, 2018. Authored by Manatt Health, this new resource compiles articles and studies published to date in 2018 on the effects of Medicaid expansion and groups the research published during this period into three main topic areas: how expansion has increased health access and improved health outcomes; the economic impacts of expansion, from state budget savings to reductions in hospital closures; and impacts on coverage rates, which include reductions in the number of uninsured.

Integrated Care Resource Center Launches Redesigned State Technical Assistance Website

The Integrated Care Resource Center (ICRC), a national initiative of CMS focused on helping states improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care for individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, launched a redesign of its website. The redesigned website includes new resources and more user-friendly navigation, including enhanced filter and search options to explore ICRC’s resource library of publications, webinars, and other resources as well as an updated interactive map of state integration activities.

Report Focusing on Quality and Access Issues in Rural Health

The National Quality Forum (NQF) announced the publication of a new report: A Core Set of Rural-Relevant Measures and Improving Access to Care. This report highlights the work of the NQF-convened Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) workgroup regarding the best available quality measures and recommendations for improving access to care for the rural population. The MAP workgroup also identified and prioritized rural-relevant gaps in measurement and provided input on alignment and coordination of measurement efforts.