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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about funding for states in the CARES Act, the importance of helping individuals and families access program benefits, and the anticipated impact of shifting to remote work and digital tools.

1. CARES Act in the states: Targeting new health funding in a time of crisis

States will receive a minimum of $1.25 billion each from the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, and need to make quick decisions about how to best use these resources in ways that fit federal requirements, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. The funding is designed to assist states with costs associated with the current coronavirus pandemic. It also includes financial support for the National Strategic Stockpile, hospitals, health centers, public health, and more.

2. Easing access to the safety net, and why we need to do it now 

Millions are applying for unemployment and other benefits as the economic ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic begin to be felt nationwide. In this Governing opinion piece, the authors argue it’s vital to the wellbeing of individuals and families that barriers to accessing benefits be removed. They recommend proactive outreach and assistance to people who may be newly eligible and simplifying the application process.

3. Health orgs target social determinants of health from COVID-19 

Patient Engagement HIT reports healthcare organizations are providing funding to assist individuals struggling with housing or food insecurity, in an effort to help lower the impact of the coronavirus on vulnerable populations. Funding aims to help shore up the finances of social service organizations, so they can meet increased demand for food, housing, and job loss assistance.

4. Critical update: How the coronavirus is changing federal work 

In this NextGov episode of the Critical Update podcast, reporters discuss how the federal IT workforce is handling the coronavirus, as well as the impact that will have on the future. Topics include telework policies, cybersecurity, the emergency appropriations bill, and how temporary measures will likely result in long-term changes.

5. COVID-19 is a before and after moment in the digital transformation 

Stay-at-home orders aimed at keeping people safe during the coronavirus pandemic are also causing a rapid adoption of digital tools. In a blog post published by Forbes, the author claims this will be a true turning point in digital transformation, specifically the normalization of telecommuting/remote work, an increased push to on-demand food and services, virtual events, and a greater dependence on cloud technology.