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In this week’s Friday Five, Maximus is reading about fast-tracking vaccine distribution preparation, expanded LTSS coverage, rural healthcare challenges, cybersecurity, and removing barriers to increased paternal involvement.

1. ‘Urgent’ request sent to states in push for coronavirus vaccine delivery by Nov. 1 

In a letter from CDC, state governors were urged to do everything they can to stand up vaccine distribution sites by November 1. According to McClatchy, that includes potentially fast-tracking permits, licenses, and waiving requirements which are unrelated to product safety. They also requested that states submit vaccine distribution plans to the Centers for Disease Control by October 1. The first vaccines to successfully complete Phase III trials are anticipated to be logistically complicated, requiring sub-zero storage and multiple doses.

2. How states handled Medicaid LTSS coverage, benefits for COVID-19

To better protect COVID-vulnerable populations, many states have adapted their long-term supports and services (LTSS) coverage and benefits. Health Payer Intelligence reports all states made efforts to streamline their enrollment process and more than half expanded eligibility criteria. Many states have also lowered premium costs, increased benefits and service utilization limits, and eliminated prior authorization requirements. 

3. HHS focuses on telehealth and tech innovations in Rural Action Plan 

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a plan to evaluate and address challenges facing rural healthcare. According to Healthcare IT News, the plan includes a 4-part strategy: building a sustainable health model, preventing disease and mortality, increasing access to care, and technology and innovation. The plan includes broad support for telehealth and other technological solutions, but also acknowledges concern about reimbursement rates and lack of broadband internet access.

4. Maria Roat: Agencies must keep emerging tech in mind as they modernize security

At a recent cybersecurity summit, Maria Roat, the Deputy Federal Chief Information Officer, told attendees that quantum computing would likely invalidate certain encryption technologies. According to FedScoop, Roat emphasized that federal agencies must look toward the future when planning and implementing IT modernization strategies. Flexible and scalable technologies will allow more adaptation to changing security concerns over time.

5. Making room for dads in public policy 

Statistics show children with close relationships to their fathers have better outcomes on multiple measures. In this blog post published by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the author calls on policymakers to address the systemic barriers fathers face in being actively involved in their children’s lives. These efforts could include, among others, ensuring that parenting time and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits are not linked to child support payments.