Lawyer Monthly - June 2022

Medicaid enrollees. A survey of states has shown that COVID-19 vaccination rates among Medicaid users are between 15 and 20% lower than those with commercial insurance. In addition to the danger that a lack of vaccination confers to an elderly population, being among those most at risk of severe health consequences or death as a result of contracting COVID-19, long-standing ethnic disparities inMedicaid coverage (with 61.1% of enrollees in 2021 identifying as Black, Hispanic, Asian American or another racial minority) has also raised concerns that slackening vaccination rates will directly impact minority communities. These risks have prompted state Medicaid programs and Medicaid MCOS to move to promote vaccination through member and provider incentives, provider engagement, member outreach and the provision of vaccination scheduling and transportation coordination services. The Biden Administration and CMS have also continued to encourage states to use ARPA funding to promote vaccination among Medicaid enrollees. It can be expected that Medicaid agencies will continue to work with public health agencies to facilitate access to vaccines and boosters for Medicaid enrollees throughout the remainder of the year. However, it remains to be seen how far these measures will address the immunisation shortfall in the long run. With vaccines having been available for adults in the US since early 2021 and attitudes to vaccination – particularly among the elderly – seeming to have calcified during the same year, it may not be reasonably expected that a large proportion of Medicaid users will become more receptive to the offered services. Nonetheless, this will remain an area to watch throughout the remainder of 2022 as COVID-19 infection rates shift. likely to add an amount of pressure to HCBS providers, it is also likely to increase the range of programs available to individuals in senior living communities; something to watch out for as the year progresses. Promotion of COVID-19 Vaccination Among Vulnerable Groups The US has made some progress towards full vaccination of the populace, yet rates of vaccination have plateaued ahead of reaching at least partial vaccination of four in five US citizens. This has led to an increase in infection rates, particularly among those groups with relatively lower uptake of the vaccine – which includes stated 17 March 2023 deadline for compliance with its new standards for care settings and person-centric planning requirements, giving states new options for expanding HCBS and targeting services to specific populations. While this is 32 JUN 2022 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM Amajority of states reported at least one permanent closure of a Medicaid HCBS provider between February 2020 and July 2021.

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