Health Policy News – September 2020

As we head into fall, individual states and our entire nation continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, while simultaneously addressing other policy needs and opportunities. At Health Policy News, we aim to strike a similar balance, as we continue to bring you updates on policy developments directed at the impact of COVID-19 as well as information about recent, non-pandemic-related health policy developments.

Our first article continues our series on the latest policy developments aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on health coverage, state waivers, telehealth and funding for providers. The article also includes several updates related to broader health policy developments we have covered recently, including the latest news on the Section 1557 Nondiscrimination Rule, prescription drugs costs, and Executive Orders. Also on the topic of COVID-19 is a piece from guest contributor Jennifer Martinez about ways states can use National Core Indicator (NCI) data to address the needs of communities facing additional obstacles and increased vulnerability during this pandemic.

As we have done in the past, our team also provides reflections on this year’s virtual National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP) conference. With telehealth suddenly at the forefront of healthcare delivery, it was a major topic of conversation at the conference and is the focus of our recap.

Lastly, Health Policy News has an exciting October edition in store, featuring the release of our annual fall white paper. We hope you will join us the week before election day for a lively health policy webinar discussion about this white paper. We have included information about how to join below:

Meeting link:

Meeting number: 132 262 7572

Password: udEphPZM372

Join by phone

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Access code: 132 262 7572

Health Policy Updates: COVID-19 and Beyond

As summer came to a close, health policy developments continued at the federal level. As in our overviews from the last six months, this article aggregates the latest updates from the federal pandemic response, including those relative to commercial insurance, Medicare and Medicaid guidance, guidance relative to telehealth, state waivers, and new funding distributions for providers. The article also includes broader health policy updates, covering  topics on which we recently reported: the Section 1557 Nondiscrimination Rule, prescription drugs and healthcare Executive Orders. For more information on these recent health policy developments, click here.

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Reducing Racial Disparities: Quality Improvement in Developmental Disability System Services

A recent bulletin from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities and the Human Services Research Institute provides insights into ways the COVID-19 pandemic has further compounded healthcare disparities faced by people of color and members of the disability community. Citing Center for Disease Control statistics as well as examining National Core Indicator data, the bulletin includes key recommendations for addressing these inequities. To read more about ways states can craft core indicators to directly address racial, ethnic, or other societal disparities, click here.

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NASHP’s 2020 Conference: Zooming in on Telehealth

The National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP)’s annual conference looked a little different this year due to being delivered in a virtual format, but still included the same informative content that conference-goers have come to expect. As is typical, sessions covered a broad range of topics, largely related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A theme that ran through several of the sessions was the huge uptick in telehealth usage during the pandemic. Speakers from several different states—including Kentucky, Maine, North Carolina and Virginia—as well as Washington D.C., across multiple panels, highlighted the power and successes of telehealth as well as the limitations of and remaining challenges related to its use. For more information about telehealth best practices and lessons learned discussed at NASHP 2020, click here.

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Health Policy News Team Announces Fall Webinar & White Paper Release

On October 29th at 11am EST, the Health Policy News team will host a webinar to discuss the release of the annual fall white paper. This years topic is “States Take the Lead: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Ten Years Later.” We look forward to sharing our special October edition of Health Policy News featuring our white paper in advance of the October 29th webinar. In the meantime, click here to read more about this special event, including how to join.

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