COVID-19 Therapeutics Webinar with the U.S. Surgeon General

Date: June 22, 2022

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) remains committed to distributing vaccines and therapeutics for free to communities across the country. While vaccines still remain the best way out of the pandemic, there are therapeutics, both pre-treatment and treatments, available that can help those at highest risk. It’s not only critical that health care providers are aware of and understand the eligibility criteria for prescribing these medications, but it’s also imperative that potential patients are armed with the right information that can help quickly connect them with these critical drugs.

Join the U.S. Surgeon general along with subject matter experts from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) for a webinar and interactive discussion on the current COVID-19 therapeutics landscape and opportunities for increased outreach and education across providers and consumers. HHS encourages members from patient advocacy groups as well as clinicians to join this important call.
What: Discussion with the U.S. Surgeon General on COVID-19 Therapeutics
Date: Thursday, June 23, 2022
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET

Register Here

Participants:
Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General
Dr. Meg Sullivan, ASPR Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Meghan Pennini, ASPR Therapeutics Director
Dr. Michael Anderson, ASPR Senior Advisor
Dr. Derek Eisnor, ASPR/BARDA Medical

Children age 6 months and up now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Missouri

Date: June 21, 2022

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation for children down to 6 months of age to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC’s recommendation was made after analyzing substantial data from clinical trials involving thousands of children, confirming the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness for children in this age group. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorized Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for children down to 6 months of age on June 17.

  • Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine: Now authorized to be given to children ages 6 months-4 years in three doses, with a 3-week interval between the first two doses, followed by a third dose at least 8 weeks after the second dose.
  • Moderna vaccine: Now authorized to be given to children 6 months-5 years in two doses with 28 days between the two doses.

Previously, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized for use in individuals ages 5 and older, and the Moderna vaccine was authorized for those 18 and older. The Moderna vaccine for those ages 6-17 is scheduled for discussion among members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on June 23.

There have been over 2 million confirmed cases of COVID among children 6 months through 4 years of age, according to CDC data. Of those cases, over 200 children have died after contracting the virus. COVID-19 is the fifth most common cause of death in children under age 5.

Missourians are encouraged to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines to ensure maximum protection. Sufficient supplies of vaccines are available throughout the state.

Missouri providers who pre-ordered vaccines for children down to 6 months of age are listed at MOStopsCovid.com, and Vaccines.gov will soon list locations on an interactive map where vaccines are available. Those who ordered Pfizer-BioNTech are experiencing manufacturer delivery delays. Contact the provider before arriving. You can also text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.

Parents & Kids COVID-19 FAQs

COVID-19 Vaccination Schedules

Webinar: Healthcare Workforce Stress, Burnout, and Resiliency

Date: June 10, 2022

Healthcare Workforce Stress, Burnout, and Resiliency

Date: June 17, 2022

Time: 12:00 PM CT

Register Here

The purpose of this webinar, presented by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is to discuss mitigating the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and current healthcare environment on the healthcare workforce, and promote resiliency among healthcare workers. Stress and mental health, compassion fatigue, and trauma experienced by healthcare professionals will be defined and discussed, and healthcare resiliency will be delineated. Speakers will highlight different perspectives on healthcare worker stress and resiliency related to health systems research, a framework for workplace resiliency, and moral injury within the context of the healthcare workforce. Examples and resources will be provided.

Presenters include experts from the Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine College of Population Health and the Moral Injury of Healthcare organization, as well as clinical staff from the HRSA’s Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs.

 

HRSA and White House Test to Treat Webinar

Date: June 1, 2022

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and White House Test to Treat Webinar

While increasing rates of COVID-19 infections are concerning, tools are available to stop the spread and prevent severe disease. HRSA invites you to join a discussion on the role of HRSA and HRSA-supported organizations in reducing COVID-19’s impact on communities nationwide. This event includes the opportunity to hear directly from the White House on the importance of Test to Treat as a strategy to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

The session will feature HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson, White House COVID-19 Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, and a panel with HRSA-supported health centers, rural health clinics, and participants from HRSA’s Community Based-Workforce for COVID-19 Outreach program. This panel will share their best practices on community outreach, education, testing, and treatment. The session will conclude with an opportunity to ask HRSA experts your questions about COVID-19 programs and the Test to Treat model.

Date: Thursday, June 2
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET
Join the day of the session

If you prefer to join by phone: 833-568-8864
Webinar ID: 161 896 3980

Rural Health Clinic Resource: HRSA Testing Supply Program

Date: April 2, 2022

Rural Health Clinic Resource: HRSA Testing Supply Program

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is currently distributing COVID-19 testing supplies to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-certified Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) free of charge. Supplies may be shared among various facilities of the same health network, including non-RHCs. Not only that, RHCs can distribute supplies to communities through foodbanks, schools, churches, and more. RHCs are encourage enroll in the HRSA Testing Supply Program and place orders.

Currently available supplies include:

  • Quidel QuickVue At-Home Test Kits
  • BD Veritor Point of Care Test Analyzers
  • COVID/Flu Point of Care Test Strips
  • COVID Point of Care Test Strips
  • Adult N95 Masks

For more information on the Program and how to enroll, please visit https://www.narhc.org/narhc/COVID-19_At-Home_Tests.asp. For additional questions please contact RHCTestKit@hrsa.gov or RHCcovidsupplies@narhc.org.

Webinar: COVID-19 Vaccine Updates from the CDC

Date: April 21, 2022

COVID-19 Vaccine Updates from the CDC

Webinar Date: April 26, 2022

Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET

Register for the Webinar

A lot has changed about COVID vaccines over the past year. Get the latest information from an expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Please join Elisha Hall, clinical lead on the CDC Vaccine Task Force’s Clinical Education Team. She will provide updates on the latest COVID-19 vaccine information, including:

  • A refresher on COVID-19 vaccine recommendations
  • Updates on boosters and additional doses
  • Best practices for working with your state to secure vaccines

Webinar – The Role of Social Determinants of Health in Value-Based Payment Models During COVID-19: An Evolving Rural Perspective

Date: April 15, 2022

The Role of Social Determinants of Health in Value-Based Payment Models During COVID-19: An Evolving Rural Perspective

Webinar Date: April 19, 2022

Time: 1:00 PM CT

Register Here

Rural health care providers have faced unprecedented challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency, focusing on the needs of the communities they serve. COVID-19 highlighted the importance of addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) to support the health and well-being of rural residents. This session highlights how some rural health providers are implementing new strategies by leveraging value-based payment models to collaborate with community partners to mitigate hardships associated with COVID-19, such as social isolation and job loss.

By attending this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe how SDOH affects the health and well-being of rural communities
  • Illustrate how rural health providers and community partners address SDOH during the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Identify resources to support rural health providers and community partners to assess SDOH needs and track outcomes

 

HHS Distributing $1.75 Billion in Provider Relief Fund Payments to Health Care Providers Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Date: April 13, 2022

HHS Distributing $1.75 Billion in Provider Relief Fund Payments to Health Care Providers Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), today announced more than $1.75 billion in Provider Relief Fund payments to 3,680 providers across the country. With this disbursement, HRSA has distributed approximately $13.5 billion from the Provider Relief Fund to nearly 86,000 and nearly $7.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments to more than 44,000 providers since November 2021.

“Health care providers have been tireless in protecting their communities and working to maintain access to health services during the pandemic,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Provider Relief Fund resources continue to make it possible for providers to recruit and retain key personnel, implement safety measures, and keep their doors open to care for their patients.”

In September of 2021, HHS opened applications for $25.5 billion in COVID-19 provider funding. With this latest round of payments, nearly $21 billion of this funding has been distributed. Phase 4 payments reimburse smaller providers for a higher percentage of losses during the pandemic and include bonus payments for providers who serve Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicare beneficiaries.

Providers can use Provider Relief Fund payments received in the first half of 2022 to cover losses and expenses until June 30, 2023. With these latest payments, approximately 92 percent of all Phase 4 applications have been processed. Remaining applications require additional manual review and HRSA is working to process them as quickly as possible.

Provider Relief Fund payments have played an important role in the national response to COVID-19, helping health care providers prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Health care providers can use the payments for a variety of COVID-related expenses. These include maintaining access to care for patients by addressing workforce challenges through recruitment and retention efforts (PDF).

View a state-by-state breakdown of all Phase 4 payments disbursed to date.

View a state-by-state breakdown of all ARP Rural payments disbursed to date.

As individual providers agree to the terms and conditions of Phase 4 payments, it will be reflected on the public dataset.

For additional information, visit www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief.

OSHA ETS Reopening: Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings

Date: April 8, 2022

OSHA ETS Reopening: Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings

On March 23, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reopened the rulemaking record partially and scheduled an informal public hearing to seek comments on specific topics that relate to the development of a final standard to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from workplace exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

The original 2021 OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) aimed to protect workers in healthcare settings from occupational exposure to COVID-19. The ETS – which also served as a proposed rule – focused on healthcare workers most likely to have contact with people infected with the virus. The healthcare ETS required covered healthcare employers to develop and implement COVID-19 response plans to identify and control COVID-19 hazards in healthcare settings.

The agency is reopening the rulemaking record to allow for new data and comments on topics, including the following:

  • Alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for healthcare infection control procedures.
  • Additional flexibility for employers.
  • Removal of scope exemptions.
  • Tailoring controls to address interactions with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Employer support for employees who wish to be vaccinated.
  • Limited coverage of construction activities in healthcare settings.
  • COVID-19 recordkeeping and reporting provisions.
  • Triggering requirements based on community transmission levels.
  • The potential evolution of SARS-CoV-2 into a second novel strain.
  • The health effects and risk of COVID-19 since the ETS was issued.

Comments on OSHA’s limited reopening of the COVID-19 healthcare ETS are due by April 22, 2022, and the informal public hearing will begin on April 27, 2022. Individuals interested in testifying at the online public hearing must submit a notice of intention to appear by April 6, 2022.

View OSHA’s Federal Register Notice on govinfo.gov.

View OSHA’s press release on the Notice on osha.gov.

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) plans to submit comments on the limited reopening reflective consistent with the intent of our 2021 comments. Please reach out if there are specific issues or concerns you’d like NRHA to reflect in the comment letter. For more information, please contact ccochran@ruralhealth.us

CMS Returning to Certain Pre-COVID-19 Policies in Long-term Care and Other Facilities

Date: April 7, 2022

CMS Returning to Certain Pre-COVID-19 Policies in Long-term Care and Other Facilities

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking steps to continue to protect nursing home residents’ health and safety by announcing guidance that restores certain minimum standards for compliance with CMS requirements. Restoring these standards will be accomplished by phasing out some temporary emergency declaration waivers that have been in effect throughout the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). These temporary emergency waivers were designed to provide facilities with the flexibilities needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the PHE, CMS used a combination of emergency waivers, regulations, and sub-regulatory guidance to offer health care providers the flexibility needed to respond to the pandemic. In certain cases, these flexibilities suspended requirements in order to address acute and extraordinary circumstances. CMS has consistently monitored data within nursing homes and has used these data to inform decision making.

With steadily increasing vaccination rates for nursing home residents and staff, and with overall improvements seen in nursing homes’ abilities to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks, CMS is taking steps to phase out certain flexibilities that are generally no longer needed to re-establish certain minimum standards while continuing to protect the health and safety of those residing in skilled nursing facilities/nursing facilities (SNFs/NFs). Similarly, some of the same waivers are also being terminated for inpatient hospices, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IIDs), and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) facilities.

“Patient and resident health and safety are top priorities for CMS, and today’s actions are focused on ensuring every nursing home resident is cared for in a safe, high-quality environment,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “We’ve learned a lot from the pandemic over the last two years and are committed to using that knowledge to re-envision the next chapter of health care quality and patient safety and build a stronger health care system.”

Recent onsite long-term care (LTC) survey findings have provided insight into issues with resident care that are unrelated to infection control, such as increases in residents’ weight-loss, depression, and pressure ulcers. The lack of certain minimum standards, such as training for nurse aides, may be contributing to these issues. By ending some of the temporary waivers, CMS is helping nursing homes to redirect efforts back to meeting the regulatory requirements aimed at ensuring each resident’s physical, mental, and psychosocial needs are met. In addition, CMS expects providers to have integrated practices to address any COVID-19 outbreaks into their normal operations.

CMS will maintain flexibility for certain requirements, such as making temporary waivers available for nurse aides’ certification if there are documented capacity issues in training or testing programs, and CMS will retain the ability until the expiration or termination of the national COVID-19 PHE to issue individual state-based, county-based, or facility-based waivers as needed. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and CMS data, tracking trends in the number of COVID-19 cases in local communities and nursing homes, provide CMS with the ability to grant waivers in specific situations. For example, if there is a severe outbreak in a facility or geographically distinct group of facilities, CMS can quickly grant waivers to support the facilities’ response to COVID-19. If there is a nationwide surge of nursing home COVID-19 cases in the future, CMS can quickly re-issue national blanket waivers during the PHE.

CMS is ending specific waivers in two groups: one group of waivers will terminate 30 days from the issuance of this new guidance, and the other group will terminate 60 days from issuance. These timeframes give providers and state agencies time to adjust their operations to the reinstituted requirements.

Details can be found in the Quality, Safety, and Oversight (QSO) memo here: https://www.cms.gov/medicareprovider-enrollment-and-certificationsurveycertificationgeninfopolicy-and-memos-states-and/update-covid-19-emergency-declaration-blanket-waivers-specific.