Supporting Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwinding 

Altarum provides proactive operational planning support to help states prepare for changes in Medicaid operations as the PHE ends.

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At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress enacted a requirement to keep individuals continuously enrolled in Medicaid programs until the end of the public health emergency (PHE). Bolstered by this requirement, enhanced federal funding, and increased flexibilities, the number of Medicaid beneficiaries in states grew substantially. With millions of enrollees set to lose coverage when the PHE ends, states are tasked with developing plans to ensure eligible beneficiaries continue to receive coverage, while those who are no longer eligible transition to other health plans.

Understanding the need to get ahead of the PHE unwinding and Medicaid renewals, Medicaid leaders in Kentucky turned to Altarum for policy expertise and expanded implementation capacity.

Our Approach

Altarum is supporting Kentucky’s Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) and key stakeholders to develop an operational plan that manages service changes and all communications to various audiences, such as Medicaid beneficiaries, providers, and advocacy organizations, as the PHE ends and all flexibilities allowed during the PHE period unwind or are formally established through state-level policy changes. Altarum is also supporting the state in establishing their process for renewals, which are now separated due to the passing of the recent Omnibus bill. 

Altarum's PHE unwinding operational plan helps the state be assured of reduced interruptions in coverage and minimal gaps in services as the PHE ends—ensuring uniform messaging across the state and supporting DMS staff in carrying out all unwinding activities. Altarum’s Medicaid and CMS policy expertise, overall project management strategy, communications planning, direct staff training, and stakeholder engagement efforts will support the transition back to normal operations from the PHE as seamlessly as possible. 


Our support provides increased capacity and expertise for states navigating complex policy considerations and waiver redesign while managing the shifting unwinding timelines. Through partnership with Altarum, the state will ensure all individuals served by Medicaid, and the staff and organizations that support them, understand the upcoming PHE unwinding and are able to act on all necessary steps to avoid any potential gaps in coverage—beginning with more than 300k enrollees with renewals set to start in April, 2023.

If your state is interested in learning how Altarum could be support your PHE unwinding or renewal efforts, contact Delivery Systems Transformation Senior Director Krissy Azeem.

Supporting Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwinding  Contact

Contact Us

Krissy Azeem

Krissy Azeem  - MPH, PMP

Senior Director, Delivery System Transformation 

Areas of Expertise
  • Medicaid
  • Training and Technical Assistance
  • Long-Term Services and Supports

A leader in innovating the care delivery system with health plan, state, and federal partners, Krissy is proficient in health policy implementation and analysis, with a focus on home and community-based waivers and long-term services and supports. She has an eye for identifying the unintended consequences of proposed policies and creating innovative, and realistic, recommendations for state partners. Krissy has deep experience in providing technical assistance, designing and implementing action-oriented and outcomes-based learning systems, and catalyzing behavior change through thoughtful and strategic training. Passionate about improving the care delivery system, she has supported states and communities in enhancing the infrastructure, training, and experiences for direct service workers, including those who self-direct. Krissy holds a Master of Public Health degree from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Sciences. 

Helen Dawson

Helen Dawson  - MPH

Project Manager

Areas of Expertise
  • Qualitative Research and Analysis
  • Long-Term Services and Supports
  • Home and Community-Based Services

Helen is a project manager and healthcare consultant with years of direct client-facing experience with federal, state, and private sector clients ranging from Department of Health and Human Services, multiple state agencies dedicated to Medicaid, disability, and older adult populations, to life sciences companies, health systems, and health plans. Helen has broad project management and stakeholder engagement experience from several years of hands-on work supporting federal, state, health system, health plan, and community-based organizations (CBOs) streamline access to long-term care services while integrating health care and social supports. Her past work includes extensive knowledge of health policies and practices serving vulnerable populations across the continuum of care, including direct work with the Administration for Community Living (ACL), and during periods of change in state healthcare policy, including operational planning for the Covid-19 PHE Unwinding.