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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about potential Medicaid cuts, digital modernization efforts within the federal government, and relaxed HIPAA regulations for community-based COVID-19 testing sites.

1. Governors eye Medicaid cuts to ease COVID-19 budget pain

States are required by federal law to balance their budgets, however COVID-19 is causing both an influx of individuals applying for Medicaid and lowered state revenues. The Hill reports many states are considering Medicaid cuts unless the federal government increases its share of Medicaid funding. Experts predict the temporary 6.2% increase currently in effect will not be enough to prevent budget shortfalls.

2. States face looming crisis over Medicaid growth, which could trigger changes for providers and payers

States may be forced to implement steep cuts to provider rates and may need to tighten drug formularies without additional federal funding for Medicaid. Fierce Healthcare reports that states could also attempt to negotiate with managed care organizations and limit discretionary items. Millions of new Medicaid enrollees are expected as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

3. Digital transformation in the federal government: 6 key elements for the future

A blog published by The Enterprisers Project lays out six key areas the U.S. Technology Transformation Services is focusing on for digital transformation. They include providing an omnichannel experience, using artificial intelligence to leverage data, optimizing infrastructure and cloud services, removing barriers to accelerated progress, applying data and analytics, and having a strong identity management program. 

4. How agencies can sustain telework after the COVID pandemic

As COVID-19 closed offices across the country, many government agencies had to scramble to provide employees the support needed to telework. The steps agencies have taken will make sustained telework easier. In this NextGov blog, the author points out three key items to consider when agencies incorporate telework into their broader modernization efforts. These are focusing on the mission, taking care of employee well-being, and selecting the right metrics to measure success.

5. HHS relaxes data security and privacy enforcement for COVID-19 test sites

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has relaxed HIPAA regulations for community-based COVID-19 testing sites. According to NextGov, HHS officials have provided best practices, but informed sites that the practices are not mandatory. Sites will not be penalized for violations and the relaxed standards apply only to community-based testing sites.