Recent CMS Releases Related to Telehealth and COVID-19

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a preliminary report providing Medicaid and CHIP data on telehealth use during the COVID-19 public health emergency through June 30. It provides a snapshot of services delivered via telehealth to Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries between March and June across various states and age groups, noting the significant increase in telehealth services compared to the same period last year. CMS also released a supplement to its State Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth Toolkit to help states navigate telehealth service delivery and reimbursement. The supplement’s updated FAQs include resources states may consider for FQHCs, specifically financing flexibilities in response to the pandemic.

How Are Hospitals Investing in Community Development?

The new report Exploring Hospital Investments in Community Development provides the first in-depth, national analysis of nonprofit hospitals’ reported spending on community building activities, examining how this spending varies by geography and hospital characteristics. The report also includes a qualitative review of related activities undertaken by hospitals in Third District states (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey), highlighting areas of potential alignment with the community development field.

Social determinants of health — such as economic security, housing conditions, and neighborhood context — are increasingly recognized as having an even greater impact on health and well-being than clinical care. Although many hospitals and health-care systems are exploring opportunities to address these nonmedical determinants, before now, little was known about how much hospitals typically invest in community development–related activities or what types of partnerships and initiatives they pursue.

Exploring Hospital Investments in Community Development sheds new light on this topic by examining nonprofit hospitals’ spending on efforts to address the social and economic needs of patients and communities. The report finds that, in aggregate, nonprofit hospitals reported spending an average of $474 million on community building each year during the study period. This funding was primarily allocated toward workforce development, community services, and community health improvement advocacy efforts. Additionally, a qualitative review of hospitals’ reported activities identifies examples of interventions related to housing, economic development, food access, and more.

Read the full report: Exploring Hospital Investments in Community Development.

See the Data Appendix for hospital spending breakouts for states, metropolitan areas, and nonmetropolitan portions of states.

Resource Guide – Promoting Rural Prosperity in America

Building on the foundational work of the Task Force, the White House released a rural prosperity resource guide for State, local, and Tribal leaders. The resource guide – Promoting Rural Prosperity in America – demonstrates the Administration’s historic investment in and support for rural America and outlines key programs across the Federal government to support rural prosperity and resiliency.

You can also find a helpful guide from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs on disaster recovery and resilience here.

COVID-19 and Its Impact on Intimate Partner Violence

From the Penn State Center for Health Care and Policy Research

Each year in the United States, nearly 12 million people are the victims of some form of intimate partner violence (IPV) or domestic abuse. Under normal circumstances, IPV is an incredibly difficult public health and socio-judicial issue to address – by nature IPV is “behind closed doors,” and thus, stigma, shame and embarrassment, as well as concerns over safety and privacy, often prohibits individuals experiencing abuse from seeking help . The COVID-19 pandemic has only served to exacerbate this issue by not only increasing the incidence of IPV, but also by adding new challenges and complexities to how services for both victims and their abusers are delivered. In this post, we explore the immediate impact of COVID-19 on IPV rates, the way the pandemic has altered, and in some cases decreased access to, services for victims and perpetrators, and the potential long term implications COVID-19 has on future IPV trends.

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HRSA Announces Two New Aging with HIV Reference Guides

As people with HIV age, their health care and social needs change. All members of the healthcare team can assist in the care and treatment as people age with HIV. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) has released two new aging with HIV reference guides to assist healthcare professionals in supporting this growing population.

Managing Dental Caries Against the Backdrop of COVID-19: Approaches to Reduce Aerosol Generation

Newly released Managing Dental Caries Against the Backdrop of COVID-19: Approaches to Reduce Aerosol Generation aims to present evidence-based treatments that remove or reduce the generation of aerosols during the management of carious lesions. It maps aerosol generating procedures (AGPs), where possible, to alternative non-AGPs or low AGPs. This risk reduction approach overcomes the less favorable outcomes associated with temporary solutions or extraction-only approaches.

Telebehavioral Health – An Effective Alternative to In-Person Care 

A new report presents findings from a pre-COVID 2019 review of telebehavioral health’s effectiveness on key clinical outcomes. This Milbank Memorial Fund report also features insights into the telebehavioral health policies and program structures of Texas and Massachusetts Medicaid and an example from the Veterans Affairs administration. These findings may provide useful lessons for state policymakers as they consider next steps for telehealth. The full report is available here.

Weigh in on DHS HIT Survey

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is conducting an important survey of the state’s outpatient healthcare provider practices. DHS is conducting the survey because CMS has requested each state to assess the current degree of Health Information Technology (Health IT) adoption, usage and challenges experienced by its healthcare providers. Some important considerations:

  • Survey results will be reported to CMS as part of the Pennsylvania’s State Medicaid Health IT Plan, and will be used to inform policy decisions as part of the commonwealth’s efforts to encourage meaningful use of health IT.
  • This survey should be completed by one individual on behalf of the entire practice/organization. The individual may be a provider, practice manager, CIO, or any individual who is familiar with the health center’s health IT adoption and is authorized to answer the survey on behalf of the FQHC.
  • Your answers will be kept anonymous and reported only in the aggregate.

Access the survey here. For your convenience, DHS has also posted a downloadable copy of the survey (in PDF format) on its website so that you can preview it and use it to gather answers prior to completing the actual survey. Preview the PDF of the survey. The survey is estimated to take 15-20 minutes to complete.

RAND: Americans Pay 8x More for Insulin

Insulin prices are more than eight times higher in the United States than in 32 high-income comparison nations combined, according to a RAND Corporation study. This ranges from 3.8 times higher than Chile to 27.7 times higher than Turkey. Closer to home, they were 6.3 times higher than Canada. Even accounting for rebates and discounts, U.S. consumers are still likely to pay four times the average paid in other high-income nations. The study was sponsored by the Health and Human Services Office for Planning and Evaluation. Read more.