- KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: February 2021
- USDA Invites Comments on Final Rule to Expand Broadband Access in Rural America Under the ReConnect Program
- USDA Invests $42 Million in Distance Learning and Telemedicine Infrastructure to Improve Education and Health Outcomes
- Rural Death Rate from COVID-19 Falls by a Third
- Data-Driven Initiative Drives Down Disparities in Rural Health Care
- To Vaccinate Veterans, Health Care Workers Must Cross Mountains, Plains and Tundra
- Report: 10 Western States See Some Drug Overdoses Deaths Increase by Nearly 100%
- COVID-19 Is Pushing Struggling Rural Hospitals to the Brink
- COVID-19 Converges with the Opioid Epidemic: Challenges for Pregnant and Postpartum Women with Opioid Use Disorder
- Rural Hospital Remains Entrenched in COVID 'War' Even Amid Vaccine Rollout
- USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19
- Biden Administration Announces Actions to Expand COVID-19 Testing
- Expanding Testing on Reservations
- Rural COVID-19 Cases Drop While Rural Death Rate Holds Steady
- 2021 Special Enrollment Period for Marketplace Coverage Starts on HealthCare.gov Monday, February 15
Providing Peace of Mind to Parents
Recently, we have found ourselves confronted with a different kind of “normal.” For many across the country, that suddenly meant adjusting to online learning and schooling. It has also elevated the concerns parents have if their children get sick and need care.
With this in mind, the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign created new resources that partners can share to remind parents and caretakers that Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide free or low-cost health insurance for eligible children
and teens up to age 19. With Medicaid and CHIP, parents get the peace of mind that comes with knowing their children have access to essential medical care, such as preventive services or emergency care should they get sick or injured. The resources also remind parents that even if they have applied before and were not able to obtain coverage, they may now be eligible.
In addition to an animated video in English and Spanish, the Campaign offers a print-ready palm card, poster, and direct-mail insert in English and Spanish for use in community outreach. There is also a digital button that can be added to websites to easily connect to families with health insurance information in their state through the “Find Coverage for Your Family” map on InsureKidsNow.gov.
CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.
Call details are below. Conference lines are limited so we highly encourage you to join via audio webcast, either on your computer or smartphone web browser. You are welcome to share this invitation with your colleagues and professional networks. These calls are not intended for the press.
Calls recordings and transcripts are posted on the CMS podcast page at: https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/OpenDoorForums/PodcastAndTranscripts
CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls (Tuesdays at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern)
Office Hour Calls provide an opportunity for hospitals, health systems, and providers to ask questions of agency officials regarding CMS’s temporary actions that empower local hospitals and healthcare systems to:
- Increase Hospital Capacity – CMS Hospitals Without Walls;
- Rapidly Expand the Healthcare Workforce;
- Put Patients Over Paperwork; and
- Further Promote Telehealth in Medicare
This week’s Office Hours:
Tuesday, June 30th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5125839
Additional Office Hours:
Tuesday, July 7th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 3048844
Tuesday, July 14th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2550919
Tuesday, July 21st at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7477995
Tuesday, July 28th at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1492795
Weekly COVID-19 Care Site-Specific Calls
CMS hosts weekly calls for certain types of organizations to provide targeted updates on the agency’s latest COVID-19 guidance. One to two leaders in the field also share best practices with their peers. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters if time allows.
Home Health and Hospice (twice a month on Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern)
Tuesday, July 7th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 9480618 Audio Webcast Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=9e9be372-c2ceeaa2-9e9bd24d-0cc47a6a52de-f0c8f791d3db00d2&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2302
Tuesday, July 21st at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 6080197 Audio Webcast Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=df50ec0d-8305e51e-df50dd32-0cc47adb5650-2de630be928fb779&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2312
Nursing Homes (twice a month on Wednesday at 4:30 PM Eastern)
Wednesday, July 8th at 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2997138 Audio Webcast Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=24763b39-78221212-24760a06-0cc47a6d17cc-c50990cab1b82984&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2327
Wednesday, July 22nd t 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1143564 Audio Webcast Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=24c25ae7-789673cc-24c26bd8-0cc47a6d17cc-8b19f356735ac629&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2332
Dialysis Organizations (twice a month on Wednesday at 5:30 PM Eastern)
Wednesday, July 8th at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 8481378 Audio Webcast Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=bbcd4d81-e79964aa-bbcd7cbe-0cc47a6d17cc-2ef526ca9b6e6aa3&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2307
Wednesday, July 22nd at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7692208 Audio Webcast Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=8dd709e8-d1831094-8dd738d7-0cc47adc5fa2-a95a30cf29c61d98&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2316
Nurses (twice a month on Thursdays at 3:00 PM Eastern)
Thursday, July 9th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 9386539 Audio Webcast Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=71ee84db-2dba9da7-71eeb5e4-0cc47adc5fa2-f9b0e675e63411da&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2336
Thursday, July 23rd at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7971869 Audio Webcast Link: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=69050b19-35512232-69053a26-0cc47a6d17cc-d054f6ea80376c59&u=https://engage.vevent.com/rt/cms2/index.jsp?seid=2341
Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19 (twice a month on Fridays at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern)
Lessons from the Front Lines calls are a joint effort between CMS Administrator Seema Verma, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Physicians and other clinicians are invited to share their experience, ideas, strategies, and insights with one another related to their COVID-19 response. There is an opportunity to ask questions of presenters.
Next Lessons from the Front Lines:
Friday, July 17th at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern
Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Code: 3096434
To keep up with the important work the White House Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19 click here: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=36fa2226-6aae0b0d-36fa1319-0cc47a6d17cc-2d06c219f858d641&u=http://www.coronavirus.gov/. For information specific to CMS, please visit the Current Emergencies Website.
This year, the annual Farm to School Grant Program included a new track specifically for state agencies seeking to engrain the use of local foods in child nutrition programs across their state, not just in the school meals programs but also in childcare centers and at summer meals sites.
In all, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) awarded grants of between $20,000 and $100,000 to projects in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. Grantees represent the wide diversity of partners involved in farm to school efforts, including agricultural producers, tribal nations, non-profits, state agencies, and schools spanning both rural and urban areas. To help target funds to high-impact projects, FNS awarded bonus points to applications serving schools with a high population of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals; submitted by or serving tribal nations; and located in or targeting an Opportunity Zone, a census tract designation for low-income communities. In all, the projects will serve more than 7,610 schools and 2.5 million students, more than half of whom are eligible for free or reduced priced meals.
Pennsylvania’s grant recipients were:
- Keystone Central School District – Mill Hall
- Pennsylvania Department of Education – Harrisburg
- Riverview School District – Oakmont
- The Food Trust – Philadelphia
- The School District of the City of Erie – Erie
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is reminding Pennsylvanians who qualify to apply for housing-related financial assistance through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency after applications are made available on June 29.
Pennsylvania renters and homeowners who were affected by the coronavirus-related economic slowdown can file the applications for rent and mortgage relief, made available through $175 million from the federal CARES Act.
Fetterman chairs Governor Wolf’s Task Force on Health Disparity, which has identified housing insecurity as a top concern among the state’s marginalized populations.
Applications will be available by clicking on a red CARES banner on the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s website at www.PHFA.org. Applications for both rental and mortgage assistance will be accepted starting July 6.
The agency’s toll-free call center at 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466) will be available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist the public and help with questions about the programs. Callers should listen for the prompt mentioning CARES assistance for renters and homeowners.
Renters who qualify may receive assistance equal to 100% of their monthly rent up to $750 a month for a maximum of six months of assistance for the time period between March 1 and November 30, 2020.
The assistance available for homeowners can be up to $1,000 a month for a maximum period of six months.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that beginning June 30, 2020, small businesses across Pennsylvania can apply for grants to offset lost revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdown order.
The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program, announced earlier this month, will provide $225 million in grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to eligible businesses through Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.
On June 30, eligible businesses may begin applying for the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program here.
The first application window will remain open for ten days. Applications will continue to be accepted after 10 business days but will be considered for future rounds of funding, as this is not a first-come, first-served program. Applications will be prioritized and selected for funding based on the program criteria.
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute the funds to the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which will then administer the funding in the form of grants.
DCED Secretary Dennis Davin joined state Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Senator Vincent Hughes, Senator John Blake, Representative Jordan Harris, Mark Masterson of Northside Community Development Fund, Leslie Benoliel of Entrepreneur Works, Jim Burnett of West Philadelphia Financial Services, and Dan Betancourt from the Community First Fund at a virtual press conference to announce the opening of the first of four application windows.
Eligible businesses will be able to use the grants to cover operating expenses during the shutdown and transition to re-opening, and for technical assistance including training and guidance for business owners as they stabilize and relaunch their businesses.
The funds will be available through three programs:
- $100 million for the Main Street Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the governor’s March 19, 2020 order relating to the closure of all non-life-sustaining businesses and have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19;
- $100 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Revitalization Program for small businesses that experienced loss as a result of the business closure order, have or will incur costs to adapt to new business operations related to COVID-19, and in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51 percent interest and also control management and daily business operations.
- $25 million for the Loan Payment Deferment and Loss Reserve Program, which will allow the CDFIs the opportunity to offer forbearance and payment relief for existing portfolio businesses that are struggling due to the impact of COVID, as well as shore up the financial position of the CDFIs that are experiencing significant increased defaults in their existing loan portfolios.
This project is financed by a grant from the federal Department of U.S. Treasury, under the administration of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania CDFI Network. The PA CDFI Network is a group of 17 PA-based community development financial institutions that primarily provide financing options for small businesses.
More information about the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program can be found on DCED’s website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released “Prevalence of Tooth Loss Among Older Adults: United States, 2015-2018.” The data was collected using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The prevalence of complete tooth loss among adults aged 65 and over was 12.9% in 2015-2018. Complete tooth loss can diminish quality of life, limiting food choices and impeding social interaction.
Community Catalyst has published a new resource on advancing community-centered oral health policy, “Dental Therapy Advocacy: Community Engagement Guide.” The resource offers general information about the importance of community engagement, policy provisions, and guidelines/suggestions for advocates and funders. While this guide focuses on dental therapy, the resource can be useful for all oral health advocates.
Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin
The 2019 vintage of Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin are now available from the U.S. Census Bureau. For more information on the Detailed Estimates or to download the data, click here.
Juneteenth National Freedom Day
This month’s brief focuses on trends in the Black or African American population in recognition of Juneteenth. Click here to read the full brief.
Yesterday, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the Rural Community Toolbox — a resource guide for rural communities struggling with substance abuse issues. Drawing from 16 different Federal agencies and departments, the Toolbox is an online clearinghouse giving rural leaders the opportunity to seek funding, data, and information on over 40 key topics including treatment and recovery options in order to address and combat substance use disorder in their communities.
This follows the Community Action Guide released earlier this year by ONDCP. The Guide includes practices for a range of issues related to drug addiction in rural America and recommended action steps for communities addressing these issues. The Guide also includes insight from ARC on the impact addiction has on economic development specifically in Appalachia.
“In my travels throughout rural America, I have seen firsthand that not only have rural communities been hard hit by addiction, but there are significant gaps in many rural areas in the resources needed to build strong healthy, and drug-free communities,” ONDCP Director Jim Carroll stated. “With tools like the Rural Community Toolbox, the Trump Administration is committed to being a strong partner to rural leaders by applying a whole-of-government approach in this battle to save lives.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to end the emergency blanket waiver requiring all nursing homes to resume submitting staffing data through the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) system by August 14, 2020. The PBJ system allows CMS to collect nursing home staffing information which impacts the quality of care residents receive. The blanket waiver was intended to temporarily allow the agency to concentrate efforts on combating COVID-19 and reduce administrative burden on nursing homes so they could focus on patient health and safety during this public health emergency.
The memorandum released also provides updates related to staffing and quality measures used on the Nursing Home Compare website and the Five Star Rating System.
To view the memorandum to states and nursing home stakeholders, visit: https://www.cms.gov/medicareprovider-enrollment-and-certificationsurveycertificationgeninfopolicy-and-memos-states-and/changes-staffing-information-and-quality-measures-posted-nursing-home-compare-website-and-five-star