Populations who use long-term services and supports (LTSS) are particularly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 and experiencing severe cases, due to their age or because they often live with one or more chronic conditions. Roughly 2.5 million older adults and other individuals with complex care needs receive care in nursing homes and other congregate care settings, which have been particularly susceptible to COVID-19 outbreaks. Another 10 million individuals receive assistance at home or in their communities, which in many cases has been disrupted due to caregivers being subject to stay-at-home orders, having no access to childcare as schools shut down, lacking access to PPE adequate to provide care safely and, in some cases, entering isolation after becoming sick or being exposed to COVID-19.
In a new resource guide prepared on behalf of The SCAN Foundation, Manatt Health identifies federal and state Medicaid flexibilities available to state officials and other stakeholders and how those flexibilities are being deployed during COVID-19 to help ensure access to LTSS. The resource guide also highlights state policy goals in implementing regulatory flexibilities available during the COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as specific examples of how states are ensuring continued access to LTSS by expanding the types of settings in which services can be delivered, bolstering pay and other supports for LTSS providers, and addressing barriers to care created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several states are turning their attention to considering which flexibilities they want to be able to “toggle on and off” during future COVID-19 outbreaks or other public health emergencies, such as the ability to quickly establish alternate care sites, and which flexibilities they want to retain permanently to strengthen and improve LTSS care delivery, such as expanded use of telehealth.
Click here to access the full resource guide.