2021 National Meeting of State Health & Human Services Chairs

Looking Ahead: The Future of Health and Human Services Policy: An Online Meeting for State Health and Human Services Committee Chairs
July 21-22, 2021 | Zoom

This two-day invitational online meeting was designed to convene state health and human services committee chairs from around the country to learn and strategize about improving health and well-being through policy innovations and opportunities. This meeting focused on current health and human service topics, including access to health care, behavioral health, child abuse and neglect prevention, early childhood, health equity, health workforce and telehealth, and housing and homelessness.


Wednesday, July 21
Time Sessions

12:30-1:15 p.m.


NCSL staff will welcome participants, discuss meeting agenda and facilitate group introductions.


Moderators: Kate Blackman and Wade Fickler, NCSL

1:15-2 p.m.

Past, Present and Future: The State of Health and Human Service Policy Priorities

This session will focus on federal and state health and human service policy priorities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers will reflect on the pandemic and associated impacts on health and human service priorities.


Moderator: Kelly Hughes, NCSL

Speakers: Deputy Secretary Kody Kinsley, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Joseph Thompson, MD, MPH, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

2-2:30 p.m.

Scope of Practice Policies: Challenge, Opportunity, Both?

This session will explore the latest scope of practice state policy, including state actions to support the workforce and expand access to care in the post-pandemic era.  Participants will have a chance to share a challenges and opportunities around scope of practice policies in their states.


Moderator: Sydne Enlund, NCSL

Speaker: Sydne Enlund, NCSL

3-3:30 p.m.

Provider and Payer Perspectives on Telehealth Post-Pandemic | Powerpoint | PDF file-5 pages

This session will provide key considerations—from the perspectives of providers and payers—for telehealth use and policy changes post-pandemic. After the panel, attendees will have the opportunity to choose which specific telehealth topic areas (e.g., coverage and reimbursement for telehealth, cross-state licensing, etc.) they care to hear about in more detail.   


Moderator: Jack Pitsor, NCSL

Speakers: Chris Regal, America’s Health Insurance Plans

Jacqueline Marks Smith, Manatt 

3:30-4 p.m.

Behavioral Health after COVID-19: Rising Challenges for States | Powerpoint | PDF file-16 pages

COVID-19 has exacerbated behavioral health challenges and changed the landscape for treatment and prevention. This session will explore the impacts of the pandemic on behavioral health, especially impacts on school-age children, and the policy options states have considered to address these challenges.  


Moderators: Charlie Severance-Medaris and Tammy Jo Hill, NCSL

Speakers: Charlie Severance-Medaris and Tammy Jo Hill, NCSL

4-4:15 p.m.

Spotlight: NCSL in DC


Speakers: Haley Nicholson, NCSL

4:15-4:45 p.m.

Public Health Approaches to Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect | Powerpoint | PDF file-11 pages

This session will examine the intersection between public health and child welfare policies and how the child welfare system can learn from the public health sector. Legislators will learn about evidence-based practices and state policies that support families in order to prevent a child’s entry into the child welfare system.


Moderator: Jerard Brown, NCSL

Speaker:  Bart Klika, Prevent Child Abuse America

4:45-5 p.m.

Reflections, Evaluation, Wrap-Up


Moderators: Kate Blackman and Wade Fickler, NCSL

Thursday, July 22
12:30-12:45 p.m.

Welcome and Warm-Up Activity


Moderators: Kate Blackman and Wade Fickler, NCSL

12:45-1:30 p.m.

Medicaid Managed Care: The Legislative Role | Powerpoint | PDF file-17 pages

This session will focus on strategies for effective use of Medicaid managed care and the legislative role. Attendees will hear about strategies for strengthening access to primary care and addressing health disparities using Medicaid managed care options, while also discussing the role of the legislature in providing oversight of Medicaid managed care to determine effectiveness of managed care initiatives.


Moderator: Emily Blanford, NCSL

Speaker: Diana Crumley, Center for Health Care Strategies
1:30-2 p.m.

Housing as a Driver of Health | Powerpoint | PDF file-14 pages

Without housing, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing behavioral health and chronic conditions can be difficult. This session will examine the expanding legislative role in connecting people to safe, stable and affordable housing; highlight a handful of innovative state programs and discuss how to leverage federal, state and local funding streams, including ARPA. 


Moderator: Sam Scotti, NCSL

Speaker: Marcella Maguire, Corporation for Supportive Housing

2:30-3:15 p.m.

Opportunities to Support Early Childhood Health and Mental Health | Powerpoint | PDF file-4 pages

With the stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has added to the lives of families and early childhood educators, it’s no surprise young children are feeling the effects. This session will examine ways to leverage funding from Medicaid and ARPA as well as examples of state practices and legislative trends that support early childhood mental health.


Moderators: Heather Hanna and Melissa Mincic, NCSL

Speaker: Elisabeth Wright Burak, Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy, Center for Children and Families

3:15-3:45 p.m.

Maternal Health: Spotlight on Postpartum Coverage | Powerpoint | PDF file-5 pages

Maternal health is a key health priority for many states. The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate among similarly wealthy nations and research shows that one-third of pregnancy-related deaths occur between one week and one year postpartum. In this session, maternal health experts will discuss options for states to address maternal mortality.


Moderator: Khanh Nguyen, NCSL

Speakers: Charlene Collier, M.D., director, Mississippi Maternal Mortality Review Committee and Mississippi Perinatal Quality Collaborative

Emily Eckert, manager of health policy, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

3:45-4 p.m.

Spotlight: Upstream Prevention of Child Maltreatment | Powerpoint | PDF file-7 pages


Speaker: Margaret Hunt, National Partnerships at Casey Family Programs

4-4:30 p.m.

Public Health Policy: What’s Next?

This session will offer key considerations—from the perspective of a public health leader—for post-pandemic public health policy changes. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss vaccines, medical supply stockpiles, public health infrastructure and more with the expert and their colleagues.


Moderator: Tahra Johnson, NCSL

Speaker: Ashish K. Jha, MD, Brown University School of Public Health

4:30-5 p.m.



Moderators: Kate Blackman and Wade Fickler, NCSL


Additional Resources