Budget Blog

August 27, 2020 - Health Care Issues Update

By Stacey Mazer posted 08-27-2020 02:38 PM


May 2020 Medicaid and CHIP Data and Analysis of Recent Enrollment Trends

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the May 2020 monthly report on state Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility and enrollment data. This data reflects a range of indicators related to key application, eligibility, and enrollment processes within the state Medicaid and CHIP agencies. In May 2020, 73.5 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. Of that total, 66.8 million were enrolled in Medicaid and 6.7 million were enrolled in CHIP. The Kaiser Family Foundation published a data note examining the national and state-by-state Medicaid and CHIP preliminary enrollment data through May 2020, finding that enrollment from February through May 2020 increased by 2.3 million or 3.2 percent.  Recent increases could reflect new enrollment related to changes in the economy and job loss, as well as eligibility and enrollment requirements included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that require states to ensure continuous coverage for those enrolled as of March 18, 2020 in order to be eligible for enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds. 


HHS Distributes $2.5 Billion to Nursing Homes and Extends Deadline for Phase 2 General Distributions

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has now distributed almost $2.5 billion of a planned $5 billion distribution to nursing homes to support increased testing, staffing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs. This funding allocation was made through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a targeted distribution from the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund. This distribution of almost $2.5 billion in additional funding to over 15,000 nursing homes nationwide supplements the $4.9 billion that was previously distributed to skilled nursing facilities in May. HHS plans on distributing another $2 billion to nursing homes later this fall based on certain performance indicators that will be shared in the future. Additionally, the deadline for applications for Phase 2 General Distribution funding for Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), dental providers, and certain Medicare providers has been extended to September 13, 2020.


CMS Releases Guidance on Increasing Nursing Home Reimbursements 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance to states on flexibilities that are available to increase reimbursement for nursing facilities that implement specific infection control practices, such as designating a quarantine or isolation wing for COVID-19 patients. The guidance includes information on the Disaster State Plan Amendments template and describes how states may use state-directed payments to increase reimbursement to nursing facilities in managed care. The guidance also includes examples of flexibilities states have implemented.


HHS Announces Quality Improvement Awards for Health Centers

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced over $117 million in quality improvement awards to 1,318 health centers across all U.S. states, territories and the District of Columbia. HRSA-funded health centers will use these funds to further strengthen quality improvement activities and expand quality primary health care service delivery.


HHS Awards $35 Million to Increase Health Care Access in Rural Communities

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration, awarded over $35 million to more than 50 rural organizations across 33 states to increase access to high quality care in rural communities. The awards support programs including telehealth, telemonitoring, rural residency planning, rural health research, support of vulnerable hospitals and rural HIV/AIDS planning. A list of award recipients can be found here.