As a state that runs its own health insurance marketplace, Idaho has tools at its disposal to help consumers enroll in comprehensive coverage, but has decided not to wield all of them, reports the CHIR blog. While Idaho has tried to lower enrollment barriers, it has also left large barriers in place. Rather than establishing a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), Idaho’s insurance department is encouraging uninsured consumers to enroll in short-term plans. These skimpy plans are unlikely to be sufficiently protective if residents contract COVID.
Most Illinois hospitals scored well in the Leapfrog Group’s latest report on patient safety, reports Illinois Radio Network. Forty-three percent of Illinois hospitals received an ‘A’ grade, which was significantly better than the national average– putting Illinois in the top 10 nationwide. According to the Leapfrog Group, hospitals with high marks tend to share certain traits, such as preventing medication errors by having the right technology in place or implementing strong staffing policies related to nursing and physicians staffing the ICU. The study considered 28 different factors when assigning grades, including policies, procedures and patient outcomes.
Indiana passed legislation requiring healthcare providers to give a “good faith” cost estimate to consumers five days before they deliver care, according to a Health Affairs blog that looked at how states are responding to the COVID crisis. The law also requires out-of-network providers delivering services in facilities that participate in health plan networks to accept the in-network negotiated rate unless consumers sign a statement consenting to the out-of-network charge.
In response to healthcare outcome disparities surfaced by the COVID pandemic, Ohio legislators have launched a plan to address the gap, according to Rewind Columbus. These new strategies include: expanded access to testing through a partnership with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers; a new position within the Department of Health dedicated to studying social determinants of health; an increase in the number of public health workers assigned to notifying residents of possible exposure to the virus; and interactive maps on the department's coronavirus web page displaying data on social determinants of health and their impact in the state's 88 counties. Currently, African Americans make up 14 percent of Ohio’s population, but represent 26 percent of the confirmed COVID-19 cases, 31 percent of hospitalizations from the disease and 17 percent of the deaths.
Patients of Hawaii providers exposed to peer comparisons in Hawaii experienced a 3 percentage-point increase in quality scores compared to a control group, according to a study in Health Affairs. This finding underscores the effectiveness of peer comparisons as a way to improve healthcare quality and supports Medicare’s decisions to provide comparative feedback as part of primary care and specialty payment reform programs.
A brief from the Colorado Health Institute looks at how telemedicine has boomed due to the COVID-19 crisis and whether Colorado will continue to use telemedicine at current levels once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. The Colorado Health Institute identified five strategic policy areas that federal and state leaders have targeted to expand telemedicine, summarized with the acronym RAPID: reimbursement; access to services; professionals; information; and definitions. This brief also outlines key questions and research opportunities to guide policy discussions and offers profiles of how different providers have begun to use telehealth within the state.
Colorado’s Medicaid program is projecting well over half a million (563,000) more Coloradans will enroll in Medicaid between April and December, according to a new report from the Colorado Health Institute on the impacts of COVID-19 on state hospitals. This would be the biggest surge in Medicaid enrollment in Colorado’s history—larger than its peak during the 2014 Medicaid expansion. Most of the expected new Medicaid beneficiaries formerly had employer-sponsored insurance, which reimburses hospitals at a much higher rate than Medicaid. This surge is expected to reduce the revenue of Colorado hospitals by $500 million over the next year.
The California Department of Health Care Services announced that it will postpone the implementation of the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) initiative in order to focus on COVID-19, reports Community Catalyst. CalAIM is a multi-year initiative to improve the state’s Medicaid system for vulnerable populations. The major components of CalAIM build upon the successful outcomes of various pilots, including the Coordinated Care Initiative.
Limited healthcare resources, high rates of preexisting conditions among residents and widespread poverty are among the factors that make Mississippi vulnerable, according to the Surgo Foundation's COVID-19 Vulnerability Index, reports the Clarion Ledger. The index is a measure of how at risk a community is when the virus hits. State rankings were based on factors like: resident socioeconomic status; household composition and disability; minority status and language; access to transportation; epidemiological factors; and healthcare system factors.
Virginia will pilot a program with the City of Richmond to increase equitable access to personal protective equipment in underserved communities that may be most adversely impacted by the virus, according to the governor's office. Virginia’s Health Equity Leadership Task Force is working to leverage data to prioritize areas experiencing disproportionate impacts and is partnering with the City of Richmond to establish policies and programs to address inequities. The task force, created in March 2020, serves as the Commonwealth’s first-ever coalition during an emergency response to ensure a health equity lens is applied to all decision making within Virginia’s ongoing response.