The NCSL Blog


By Haley Nicholson and Samantha Scotti

From Portland, Maine, to Los Angeles, Calif., NCSL’s Task Force on Innovations in State Health Systems has heard from the leading minds and practitioners in health innovations.

coronavirusLast week, the task force went online to discuss pressing topics and innovations to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Task force members and partners shared new ideas and policy efforts to address the pressing public health emergency. Task force partners from the American Hospital Association, Amgen, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Change Healthcare, HIMSS, McKesson and Philips shared the unique work they are doing to address the pandemic and how they’ve been helping bring a variety of innovations to state health care systems.

Through short videos, partners highlighted projects, ideas, payment systems, technologies, web tools and other resources they have created in response to the pandemic.

The task force’s goal was to highlight ideas that are truly novel and innovative. During a roundtable discussion, task force members shared insights into these innovations, and what they are seeing in their own states. Some of the topics discussed included:

  • Data collection efforts that aim to inform critical decisions such as community reopening efforts.
  • How expanded contract tracing efforts can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the importance of addressing data privacy concerns and ensuring sufficient participation among community members. 
  • Supporting the use of telehealth to increase access to essential health services, including reimbursement issues and efforts to codify expansions of telehealth that were first set by state executive branches.
  • Antibody production to potentially neutralize the virus before affects cells.
  • How hospitals and providers are working with external partners to shore up capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, including the coordination among hospitals to ensure access to essential equipment.
  • Addressing the physical, mental and isolation issues affecting our seniors.
  • Existing health inequities exposed by the pandemic.
  • New ways health insurance plans and health IT companies are ensuring providers and patients can access medical records and important information from home.
  • Scope of practice policy issues relating to pharmacist administration of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

As with most aspects of our current lives, this meeting format shifted and took on a very different look. That said, who is better poised to shake things up and innovate than NCSL’s Task Force on Innovations in State Health Systems? We look forward to watching how our state colleagues, our partners and the country continues to respond to this crisis.

Task Force Partner Resources:

Haley Nicholson is senior policy director in NCSL's State-Federal Relations Division.

Samantha Scotti is a senior policy specialist in NCSL's Health Program.

Email Samantha

Posted in: Health, COVID-19
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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.