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In this week’s Friday Five, Maximus is reading about how Medicaid could assist with COVID-19 testing and treatment, technology that could help aging seniors, a Tax Day extension, the need to address food insecurity for the elderly, and responses to a recent attempt to hack the Department of Health and Human Services.

1. How can Medicaid enhance state capacity to respond to COVID-19? 

Medicaid can serve as a tool to help connect individuals to testing and treatment for COVID-19. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that Medicaid’s existing structure and financing can help provide comprehensive coverage for no or limited out-of-pocket fees. In addition, states could choose to expand Medicaid, conduct outreach, make policy changes to facilitate enrollment, and/or seek federal approval for additional flexibility for the program. The federal government could also take either administrative or legislative action to enhance access to care through Medicaid.

2. Can technology bridge the caregiving gap? 

As the population ages and caregivers are under more pressure, it is becoming vital to find ways to help relieve the caregiving burden. According to this Home Care Magazine blog, technology is beginning to catch up to the need, as connected devices become more popular, easier to use and cheaper. These tech-based devices, plus expanding telehealth and remote monitoring options, may allow senior citizens to stay in their homes longer, while still receiving the help they need.

3. Treasury delays tax filing deadline to July 15

In response to pressure from tax preparers and legislators from both sides of the aisle, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced an extension to the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15. The Hill report comes after the Treasury Secretary’s earlier decision to extend the due date for making tax payments amid the coronavirus pandemic facing the nation.

4. For millions of low-income seniors, coronavirus is a food security issue

Elderly adults, who are at higher risk of COVID-19 symptoms, have been instructed to stay home and avoid groups. The Brookings Institute reports many do not have the resources to stock up on food and other supplies, lack reliable transportation, and will no longer have access to meals at senior centers or food banks. To combat this food insecurity and danger of malnutrition, they recommend government agencies design a targeted approach to ensure the elderly stay fed and healthy.

5. Senator calls for cybersecurity review at health agencies after hacking incident 

After a cyberattack against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this week, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has called for a cybersecurity review at HHS, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. According to The Hill, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which would conduct the review, has already started taking steps to increase security. Other Senators have also expressed concerns about healthcare cybersecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.