May 12, 2020 COVID-19

State Spotlight: May 11, 2020

United States of Care is supporting policy makers and public servants across the country as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Our support includes sharing innovative approaches communities and states are taking to respond to the immediate public health crisis and the resulting economic impacts. Below is a snapshot of the most interesting and innovative action we saw in states over the last week from the public and private sectors. These policies are focused in four priority areas:

  • Protect people from the virus and give them the information they need to be safe.
  • Build a reliable health care system that is adequately resourced to support front-line workers and available to care for people when they need it – both now and after the pandemic.
  • Provide people with the financial and health care security they need to weather COVID-19 and other health care needs they face.
  • Build an equitable COVID-19 response and health care system which cares for all, especially the most vulnerable.

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Protect people from the virus and give them the information they need to be safe.

State Response Plans

  • Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced the Back On Track Indiana plan to safely open Indiana’s economy and remain vigilant about protecting Hoosiers’ health and wellbeing. The state will move to reopen while continuing to monitor and respond to four guiding principles.
  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Restore Illinois: A Public Health Approach To Safely Reopen the State. The five-phase plan is based on regional healthcare availability and recognizes the distinct impact COVID-19 has had on different regions of the state as well as regional variations in hospital capacity.
  • Kansas Governor Laura Kelly introduced a plan to reopen Kansas. The framework is structured to return more flexibility to local community response efforts, while still operating under a statewide, regulatory baseline. It allows local governments to impose additional restrictions beyond those outlined at the state level, if they deem it necessary to local COVID-19 response efforts.
  • Oregon Governor Kate Brown released details on a three-phase reopening plan centered on counties. Counties will need to meet prerequisites related to testing, tracing, and declining COVID-19 prevalence to move between phases, and will need to remain in the first phase for a minimum of 21 days.

Build a reliable health care system that is adequately resourced to support front-line workers and available to care for people when they need it – both now and after the pandemic.

  • Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the creation of the Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps, a public service initiative that will support efforts this fall to increase testing and contact tracing and provide critical new job opportunities in the public health sector.

Provide people with the financial and health care security they need to weather COVID-19 and other health care needs they face.

  • Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved the state’s request to make funding available for crisis counseling, which will help support mental health initiatives for people impacted by COVID-19. Similarly, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the state $5.8 million for disaster crisis counseling services from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued an emergency order for health insurance companies requiring them to: provide at least a 60-day grace period to pay any past due premiums; pay claims for any covered services during the first 30 days of the grace period; and extend all deadlines for reporting claims and other communications. In addition, insurers must provide members with communication options to meet physical distancing standards.

Build an equitable COVID-19 response and health care system which cares for all, especially the most vulnerable.

  • West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued an Executive Order directing the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia National Guard to test all daycare employees, as well as residents and staff members of assisted living facilities and residential care communities.
  • The Minnesota Department of Human Services announced a 50 percent temporary rate add-on for Medicaid-paid assisted living at sites with 1 or more cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff in order to help protect ~18,000 older adults and people with disabilities receiving Medicaid-paid customized living.
  • New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a review of New Jersey’s Long-Term Care Facilities. The team, led by national experts, will produce a set of recommendations for the New Jersey Department of Health and long-term care facilities, and advise on potential state or federal action to improve quality, safety, and resilience within New Jersey’s long-term care system.
  • Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker highlighted several measures designed to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in Illinois’ Latino communities including targeted testing and contact tracing efforts to meet the needs of the state’s Latino population. In addition, the administration expanded emergency Medicaid to cover undocumented individuals.