New COVID-19 relief funding for rural communities
The Biden administration announced plans to distribute $25.5 billion in funding to physicians, hospitals, and other health care facilities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF). The portal for funding applications opened Sept. 29 at: https://prfreporting.hrsa.gov.
The funding includes assistance for physicians serving rural patients enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It also includes $17 billion for those who can document revenue losses and operating expenses related to the pandemic between July 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The first pool of funding will pay recipients based on the amount of Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP services they provide to patients who live in rural areas as defined by HHS’ Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. The $17 billion pool of funding will pay smaller practices at a higher rate than larger practices and hospitals for lost revenues and COVID-19 expenses.
The application portal will close on Oct. 26, 2021, at midnight. To minimize administrative burdens, HHS will use existing claims data to calculate bonus payments to eligible practices. If a practice seeks funding to offset COVID-19 revenue losses, it must provide documentation to substantiate the losses.
- You can determine if you qualify as “rural” here: https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/rural-health
- Provider Relief Fund reporting portal: https://prfreporting.hrsa.gov
- HHS information on the Provider Relief Fund: https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/faq/general
HHS also announced a 60-day grace period for recipients of previous rounds of funding. The first reporting deadline is Sept. 30, but the federal government will not initiate any recoupment or enforcement actions through Nov. 30. Any unused funding must be returned no later than Dec. 30.
KMS Fall Legislative Series
Circumstances in our professional and day-to-day lives continue to change, perhaps as much now as they had previously in the pandemic. According to public health officials, heightened levels of COVID-19 spread may continue for months more. If so, it's possible we may not be able to host an Advocacy Day in early 2022 (although we are making plans to do so).
Rather than wait until then, we have decided to host a series of brief online sessions to get KMS members up to speed on the coming legislative session and the main issues currently implicating the practice of medicine in Kansas. Upon registering below, you will receive links to each Zoom session via email.
Legislative Overview and Session Preview
5:30 p.m., Oct. 13, 2021
KMS Legislative Committee and Issues
5:30 p.m., Oct. 20, 2021
Getting Involved in Advocacy
5:30 p.m., Oct. 27, 2021
Vaccine mandate mostly excludes small practices
The Biden administration recently introduced a plan mandating COVID-19 vaccines for millions of Americans. Details of the plan are being developed as specific regulations are written, but at least one aspect of the plan is clear: The vaccination mandate for “over 17 million health care workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals and other health care settings,” largely does not apply to small physician practices, according to analysis by the Texas Medical Association (TMA).
The requirement clearly affects physicians who work in large medical facilities, but those in office-based practices aren’t subject to the facility-based requirement for COVID-19 vaccines, according to TMA.
The plan will require COVID-19 vaccination of staff within all Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities. But the definition of “facilities” used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) covers only large institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, federally qualified health centers, and ambulatory surgical centers, according to TMA.
However, private physicians may have to adhere to the mandate if they work in hospital and facility settings. This could include anesthesiologists, radiologists, and other physicians who are private contractors. The Biden administration has not released enough details to fully assess hospital-based physicians’ status; that information is expected to be released this month.
The Biden plan also would require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated for COVID-19 or tested for the disease weekly. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing this rule, which is also expected to be released this month.
Funding opportunity for Community Health Worker clinic teams
KHC, in partnership with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, is soliciting applications from clinics interested in embedding teams of Community Health Workers (CHWs) at clinics in Brown, Crawford, Johnson, Finney, Wyandotte, Sedgwick, Thomas, and Mitchell Counties. CHW teams will work to provide greater access to COVID-19 prevention and response while addressing chronic diseases and access to social determinants of health that exacerbate COVID-19. For more information, visit: www.khconline.org/CHW.
KHC position opening: Executive Director
The Kansas Healthcare Collaborative is accepting applications for Executive Director. The Executive Director is the chief administrative officer of KHC. This role will direct all administrative affairs and all official responsibilities of KHC subject to the approval of the KHC Board of Directors. Among other things, the Executive Director acts as the company’s principal liaison to members, consultants, government agencies, professional associations and societies, the insurance industry, and the community at large. Experience in risk management and/or quality improvement activities is preferred. KHC is accepting applications through October 22, 2021. Find the full job description at www.khconline.org/executivedirector. Thank you for helping spread the word about this exciting opportunity.
KMS position opening: Clinical Case Manager
The Kansas Medical Society's Professionals’ Health Program (PHP) is hiring a full-time Clinical Case Manager. Under the direct supervision of the KMS PHP Program Director, this position provides appropriate activities/talks for intakes, intervention, support, treatment facility referral, monitoring of program participants with health-related issues such as substance use disorders, mental and emotional health issues, and other issues resulting in PHP involvement. Applicant will meet with participants for monitoring with appropriate interaction to meet criteria set forth in KSBHA Professional Development Plans and Consent Orders. More information, including how to apply, is available here.