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Resources for Health Care Providers

Here is some important information, guidance, and resources about health care.

Public Health

Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund:

  • As of April 24, 2020, hospitals have been provided $175 billion for a new program to provide grants to hospitals, public entities, not-for-profit entities, and Medicare and Medicaid enrolled suppliers to cover unreimbursed health care related expenses or lost revenues attributable to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • This funding is administered by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is being sent directly to the states to distribute to hospitals help cover costs associated with COVID-19

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • $16 billion to the Strategic National Stockpile to procure personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other medical supplies for federal and state response efforts

Resources:

- Strategic National Stockpile of PPE

- CDC COVID-19 Info

Medicare

  • The payments made by Medicare to hospitals treating a patient admitted with COVID-19 will receive a 20% add-on for Medicare to the diagnosis-related group rate
  • Rural hospitals may request accelerated Medicare payments and receive up to a six month advanced lump sum or periodic payment
    • This advanced payment would be based on net reimbursement represented by unbilled discharges or unpaid bills
    • Medicare payment reductions for Durable Medical Equipment will be delayed for rural areas until December 31, 2020
    • DSH payment reductions have been delayed through November 30, 2020
  • Suspension of Medicare Sequestration will provide Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) with an additional 2% funding to fully match the federal payment rate for CAHs at 101% for the allowable cost for services provided for Medicare patients

Resources:

- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Information

- Rural Hospitals COVID-19 Resource Page

Grants

Hospital Preparedness Program:

  • $250 million is being provided to better help health care systems respond to this nationwide event

Telehealth network and telehealth resource centers grant programs:

  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant programs are reauthorized for the creation of telecommunications systems for telehealth services
  • These grants seek to promote remote COVID-19 screening for high-risk individuals and to increase access to medical care for rural communities

Rural healthcare services grants:

  • HRSA grant programs that focus on quality improvement, increasing health care access, coordination of care, and integration of services in rural communities were provided $79.5 million in funding

Resources:

- Hospital Preparadness Program Info

- Telehealth Resource Center Grant Program Info

- Rural Community Programs Info

Telehealth

Rural hospitals:

  • Medicare can allow hospitals to receive payments for providing patients with necessary telehealth services to provide care for patients with chronic conditions without increasing strain on hospital resources
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Rural Hospitals can bill for services that correspond to telehealth services that can be billed under the physician fee schedule
    • Telehealth services will be excluded from payment determination under the FQHC prospective payment system, and of Rural Hospital payment under the methodology for all-inclusive rates

Seniors:

  • COVID-19 legislation opens up expanded telehealth services in the Medicare program, including mental health and substance abuse services

Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Telehealth Program:

  • The FCC is providing $200 million to fund telehealth services for eligible health care providers
  • Eligibility requires the following steps before filing an application:
    • Register an FCC Registration Number (FRN) from the Commission Registration System (CORES)
    • Obtain an eligibility determination from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) by filing FCC ‘Form 460’ through its Portal
    • Register with the federal System for Award Management (SAM)
  • Additional questions about the application process may be emailed to EmergencyTelehealthSupport@fcc.gov

Emergency service providers: 

  • Emergency service providers are still required to respond to the scene if they are dispatched through a 911 emergency call
    • However, emergency service providers will be able to use funds from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund in order to authorize treatment in place and alternative destinations of care outside of the hospital
  • These emergency service providers should be able to use telehealth tools and capabilities in order to treat patients on site or determine if they require care at an alternative site
    • These concepts of treatment in place and alternative destinations of care for emergency responders are found in the Administration’s Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport (ET3) Model released last year aimed at providing greater flexibility for first responders and patients

Resources:


Mental health and substance abuse needs

Improved care coordination for patients with substance use disorder: 

  • Ensures that health care providers can more effectively coordinate care for patients with substance use disorders (especially those with comorbidities mental illness and other chronic diseases) by better aligning the treatment of substance use disorder medical records with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 

  • Provides a total of $425 million for SAMHSA to be used to support grants to address suicide prevention, mental and behavioral health priorities for tribes and tribal organizations, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, and other emergency substance use disorder or mental health needs in local communities, specifically:
    • Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics: $250 million to increase access to mental health care services
    • SAMHSA Emergency Response Grants: $100 million in flexible funding to address mental health, substance use disorders, and provide resources and support to youth and the homeless during the pandemic
    • Suicide Prevention: $50 million to provide increased support for those most in need of intervention

Resources:

- SAMHSA COVID-19 Info

- SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance for COVID-19 Info

- National Institute on Drug Abuse COVID-19 Info

- CDC Guidance for Stress-Management During COVID-19 Outbreak