September 9 Update

In This Week’s Update:

  • Public Charge Webinar Recap
  • Funding to Combat the Opioid Epidemic
  • State Updates: AZ, FL, HI, IL, OK & PA
  • Addressing Health-related Social Needs
  • Meaningful Hospital Community Investments
  • Improving Rural Maternal Health Access


Public Charge Webinar Recap

Last week, State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on the final public charge rule that will go into effect on Oct. 15. The webinar focused on the implications for Medicaid and other health-related public benefits and explored its potential impacts on consumers, states, and providers. During the webinar, New York provided one example of how a state has engaged its assistors to help communicate potential implications of the rule. If you missed the webinar, the slides and a recording are available on the SHVS website.


Funding to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

Also last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a third round of funding totaling $1.8 billion to assist states in responding to the opioid epidemic. The sum includes $932 million in state opioid response grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and $900 million over three years under a Centers for Disease Control program to improve data collection among local, state governments.


State Updates: AZ, FL, HI, IL, OK & PA

  • Arizona – In an effort to expand access to care in rural and metro areas, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System is requesting public comments on proposed changes to covered telehealth services. The proposed changes will expand currently covered services.
  • Florida – The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) published a concept paper describing its plan to import prescription drugs from Canada. HB 19, which was passed by the legislature this year, directed the Agency to establish a Canadian importation program and contract with a vendor to provide the necessary services. AHCA also submitted the concept paper to HHS.
  • Hawaii – The Department of Human Services issued a request for proposals to secure contracts with four health plans to provide services to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) members for medical, behavioral health, and long-term services and supports in a fully risk-based managed care environment.
  • Illinois – The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services announced the expansion of the Supportive Living Program (SLP) to an additional 40 sites. SLP provides Medicaid beneficiaries living with dementia an apartment, as well as help with meals, medication management, and daily living activities. SLP operates through a Home and Community Based Services waiver which allows Medicaid funds to be used to pay for assisted living services for beneficiaries who might otherwise live in a nursing home.
  • Oklahoma – Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO Kevin Corbett appointed Melody Anthony state Medicaid director and reappointed her as chief operating officer. She previously served as deputy state Medicaid director.
  • Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services released a request for information to solicit input on long-term care models for individuals who need support with activities of daily living and whose clinical or behavioral conditions, or personal history, create challenges in securing housing and services. DHS is specifically interested in specialized trauma-informed long-term care facility approaches, community-based approaches, or group home approaches for this population.


The Health Sector’s Role in Addressing Health-Related Social Needs

The Urban Institute has created a resource page focused on health-related social needs, which includes a newly released issue brief assessing the role of the health care sector in addressing health-related social needs. The brief highlights successes and challenges of established and emerging strategies that could affect health outcomes and healthy life expectancy, particularly among families with low incomes. The issue brief also identifies areas where today’s health care payers, plans, and providers say they need more data and evidence to help them better target their efforts and partner more effectively across sectors.  


Towards Meaningful Hospital Community Investments

The National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP) published a blog post that examines how Oregon and Connecticut are taking steps to hold their nonprofit hospitals accountable for their community investments. While tax exemptions for nonprofit hospitals cost states billions of dollars in lost tax revenue, hospitals are expected to invest in programs and services that benefit their communities. Oregon and Connecticut require their hospitals to make meaningful investments to improve their region’s health and well-being and align with state health priorities. The blog post profiles each state’s efforts, both of which provide examples of how states can expand upon federal requirements for nonprofit hospitals.


Maternal Health in Rural Communities: Improving Access

CMS has published an issue brief that seeks to focus attention on the need for national, state, and community-based organizations to collaborate on developing an action plan to improve access to maternal health care and improve outcomes for rural women and their babies. A lack of access to high quality maternal health services in rural communities can result in a number of negative maternal health outcomes, which affect American Indian and Alaska Native and women of color disproportionately. The issue brief provides an overview of what constitutes access to maternal health care before, during and after pregnancy and identifies opportunities, as well as the challenges, to improving access to maternal health care in rural communities.