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COVID-19 Update: Governor to not extend stay-at-home order, BCBSKS no-interest loans, free N95 mask decontamination

Governor to issue plan for reopening state, will extend emergency declaration
At her Wednesday press conference, Gov. Laura Kelly said she will announce plans for re-opening the state during a televised speech at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. She also indicated that she would not be extending the statewide stay-at-home order, which expires at midnight May 3. The governor also said that she would extend the state’s emergency disaster declaration by two weeks through May 14, preserving state eligibility for federal disaster relief. After that time, she said, the State Finance Council could extend it for an additional 30 days. In order for the emergency declaration to remain in place beyond June 13, she said the Legislature would need to extend it through a Concurrent Resolution.

Gov. Kelly said that expanded testing would be key to reopening the state. To that end, she said the state had ordered 500,000 USDA- and FDA-approved test kits from an overseas company. She said an initial shipment of 5,000 test kits cleared customs this week, and the remainder would arrive at 10,000 test kits per week until the order is filled. She said the federal government would also be shipping 25,000 test kits to Kansas this week and another 25,000 next week.

BCBSKS Advanced Payment Program — enrollment deadline is May 8
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) has established a $35 million Advanced Payment Program to offer relief to contracting providers that have experienced a significant loss in net revenue from BCBSKS. This is a no-interest loan program. Physicians must apply for the program by May 8 to receive advance payments. Find information about the program here. Frequently asked questions are available here.

KDHE to begin free decontamination of N95 masks for health care providers
KDHE has released preliminary information on a new program to decontaminate N95 masks at no cost for health care providers. Among the details of the program:

  • Use of the system will be free to all health care organizations and first responder agencies (including free shipping).
  • N95 masks may be decontaminated up to 20 times.
  • There is no minimum number of masks that may be sent for decontamination.
  • The anticipated turn-around time for delivery back to facilities is three days.
  • In order to decontaminate, masks must be free of visible soiling.
  • KHDE requests that N95 masks be placed in a paper bag marked with the provider’s name. If paper bags are unavailable, staple a piece of paper with the provider’s name to the mask’s elastic strap.
  • Store in a safe, dry place until further instructions are available.
  • The address for shipping N95 masks for decontamination will be available soon.
  • Providers will register directly with the Battelle nonprofit organization, which is deploying the decontamination systems across the U.S.

Find more information here, including how to apply for the program.

AMA urges CMS to resume Accelerated and Advance Payment program
As of April 26, CMS paused loans under the Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) program. This week, the American Medical Association sent a letter to CMS urging quick resumption of the program, with more flexible terms and expanding the program to Medicaid providers. Specifically, the letter urged CMS to use its statutory discretion to extend the repayment period for physicians to at least two years to support physician practices. Further, it urged CMS to waive the interest rate that applies to advance payment balances after the initial repayment period. Read the full letter here.

KSHSAA issues new form for physical exams
The Kansas State High School Activities Association has updated the “pre-participation physical exam form,” which includes a new medical eligibility page. Find more information and the new form here.

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If you have questions about this update or other matters, please contact KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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