Read about top health issues facing states in 2018. Medicaid expenditures are 30 percent of states general fund budgets and states are looking for ways to cut costs. The opioid epidemic shows no signs of letting up, increasing the need for treatment, harm reduction programs and prevention. Questions of how to provide health service to the growing aging population and rural populations are top-of-mind in many states. Finally, state policymakers are beginning to look at the social determinants of health, searching for strategies that are more preventive in nature.

CSG Midwest
Seeking to make greater use of their states’ prescription drug monitoring programs and to prevent opioid abuse, Illinois and Michigan lawmakers have established new requirements for prescribers. These measures were signed into law in December.

Three speakers addressed ways states are both reacting to federal efforts and leading the charge to create sound health policy in the areas of Medicaid and health insurance as well as opioid treatment. The Committee approved two policy resolutions and released CSG's 50-state survey diabetes spending.

CSG Midwest
Four years ago, Northwestern University Medicine researchers completed the largest-scale study to date of depression among postpartum women. The findings were surprising to some (including the researchers), and disturbing to most everyone: 14 percent of women in the study screened positive for depression, a condition among new mothers that often isn’t treated or even screened in today’s U.S. health care system.
“It’s the No. 1 complication of pregnancy,” says Jamie Zahlaway Belsito, advocacy chair for the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health.
And without effective intervention, she adds, depression during pregnancy and among new mothers can negatively impact birth outcomes, child development, and a woman’s own long-term health.
More federal resources for states to help with this public health problem will soon be on the way.
Under the U.S. 21st Century Cures Act, signed into law in late 2016, federal grants will be awarded to states to develop or strengthen programs that improve the availability of maternal depression screening and treatment. Funding priority will be given to states that propose “to improve or enhance access to screening services … in primary care settings.”
As of late October, it was not yet known exactly how much money would be appropriated for this new competitive federal grant program. According to Belsito, it most likely will be between $1 million and $5 million annually over the next five years.
CSG Midwest
Wisconsin’s recently enacted state budget includes money for schools to improve students’ access to mental health services. Gov. Scott Walker signed the budget bill (AB 64) into law in September. For the first time, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers says, the state will provide funds for mental health training and partnerships between schools and community providers.

Drug abuse is a crisis in the United States that only continues to grow over time. Many states have turned to treatment plans in efforts to slow this trend. The third installment of this research series will examine what states are doing about drug abuse treatment policies.

The National Association of Attorneys General called on insurance companies to prioritize non-opioid pan management options. CVS Health announced it would place a 7 day restriction on opioid prescriptions for new pain patients. CVS Foundation announced $2 million for medication-assisted treatment and recovery services.

On September 27th, 2017, the Kentucky Work Matters Task Force will convene once again to discuss disability employment policies.  This task force was convened by Governor Matt Bevin in June of 2017.  The mission of the Kentucky Work Matters Task Force is “to address barriers to employment and promote workforce inclusion among people with disabilities, foster children, disabled veterans, individuals with substance abuse issues and individuals with...

Addiction is a driving force for drug abuse. Addiction causes people to do whatever it takes to get ahold of their drug of choice. Often the acquisition of drugs leads to people getting arrested and incarcerated. The second installment of this series will examine how drug abuse in the states affects incarceration.

CSG Midwest
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed 11 bills into law in July that seek to address myriad facets of the state’s opioid crisis. The bills were the product of a special session held earlier in the year.

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