IFC-4 and COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkits Listening Session Invitation

On October 28, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC) that removes administrative barriers to eliminate potential delays to patient access to a lifesaving vaccine. In addition, the rule:

  • Creates flexibilities for states maintaining Medicaid enrollment during the COVID19 PHE;
  • Establishes enhanced Medicare payments for new COVID-19 treatments;
  • Takes steps to ensure price transparency for COVID-19 tests, and
  • Provides an extension of Performance Year 5 for the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model; and
  • Creates flexibilities in the public notice requirements and post-award public participation requirements for a State Innovation Waiver under Section 1332 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act during the COVID-19 PHE.

The CMS Kansas City office is hosting two 1-hours conversations with sessions CMS staff regarding IFC-4 and the COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkits. They will provide a brief overview of IFC-4 and look at the resources available in the COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkits. Following the overview, the lines will open up to answer questions and listen to feedback.  Information presented will be the same at both sessions; however, the listening portion will be unique to each session.

To register for the November 9 session from 10:00 – 11:00 AM CST, please click on the link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/registration-cms-kc-ifc-4-covid-19-vaccine-toolkits-listening-session-tickets-127913156695

To register for the November 10 session from 4:00 – 5:00 pm CST, please click on the link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/registration-cms-kc-ifc-4-covid-19-vaccine-toolkits-listening-session-tickets-127927874717

Register for the session that works best for you or both if you are interested in hearing questions and feedback during both sessions. After you register, you will be provided a link to access your session(s). It is strongly encouraged to review the IFC and toolkit prior to the conversation. The IFC can be found at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-vax-ifc-4.pdf and the toolkits can be found at https://www.cms.gov/covidvax.

Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Reporting Portal

On November 4,  the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) posted new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to assist Rural Health Clinics with recent RHC COVID-19 Testing Program reporting requirements www.hrsa.gov/rural-health/coronavirus/…. HRSA also reorganized existing FAQs for clarity and ease of use. As a reminder, funded RHCs must continue to report COVID-19 tests and spending categories monthly on the Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Reporting Portal. October data is due by November 30. 

States Turn to Telehealth During the Pandemic

Since March, 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have enacted more than 79 bills changing telehealth policies, either permanently or temporarily, during the pandemic. This article published by the National Conference of State Legislatures discusses the details of that legislation. The article was funded through HRSA’s cooperative agreement with the National Organizations of State and Local Officials.

Read the article.

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

November 5, 2020

HRSA Celebrates National Rural Health Day. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will recognize the annual event with online activities on Thursday, November 19. HRSA Administrator Tom Engels will kick off the day, along with a welcome from Jeff Colyer, Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. HRSA will host a variety of events throughout the week which are open to the public, including a virtual rural job fair and webinars focused on the rural response to COVID-19, social determinants of health, and telehealth.

USDA: The Meatpacking Industry During COVID-19. The Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides data on rural counties where meatpacking is the primary employer, and where confirmed cases are higher than in other rural areas. 

States Turn to Telehealth During the Pandemic. With funding support from the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Conference of State Legislatures provides details of more than 79 bills changing telehealth policies in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

ONC Interim Final Rule on Pandemic-Related Health IT. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is accepting comments on an Interim Final Rule, effective on December 4, pertaining to Information Blocking and the ONC Health IT Certification Program that were outlined in the ONC Cures Act Final Rule released in March 2020.

COVID-19 Emergency Webinar for Community Based Organizations

Date: November 5, 2020

Time: 2:30 PM Central

The CDC Foundation is hosting a webinar focused on the critical role community based organizations play in sharing information with their key stakeholders around protective measures for COVID-19. This webinar will provide participants the opportunity to hear from a number of subject matter experts as well as share insights from their work in communities. Please register and join the CDC Foundation for this webinar.

Free Online Training – Revisiting the Opioid Epidemic Inside the Pandemic

From the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health – A special online training on the ongoing opioid crisis. 

Date: November 20, 2020

Time: 1:00 PM Central

Registration is free https://www.cezoom.com/registration/?conf=752

Revisiting the Opioid Epidemic Inside the Pandemic

William T Kane, DDS, MBA, FAGD, FACD
The opioid epidemic in Missouri has not gone away. The epidemic continues in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the epidemic and the pandemic cross paths with dire consequences for Missourians, healthcare providers and, in particular, dental professionals.

This online training will revisit the opioid epidemic and the response of dentistry to this crisis. Understanding and identifying patients with addictive diseases (Substance Use Disorders/SUD’s) and how this relates to dentistry will be discussed. The pandemic has led to complications in this work. People with addictive diseases seem to be more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus and may have more severe symptoms.

In addition, safe and effective prescribing practices for acute dental pain will be discussed. Dental treatment for patients in active addiction, recovery, and medically assisted recovery (MAT) will be presented.

The presentation will include time for discussion and Q & A. 

CMS’ New One-Stop Nursing Home Resource Center Assists Providers, Caregivers, Residents

October 30, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new online platform – the Nursing Home Resource Center – to serve as a centralized hub bringing together the latest information, guidance and data on nursing homes that is important to facilities, frontline providers, residents and their families, especially as the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues.

Previously, individuals seeking information specific to nursing homes needed to navigate to several disparate webpages and spent valuable time looking for answers. With the onset of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), quick access to up-to-date information and resources, including the 24 guidance documents released since March 2020 in response to the pandemic, was critical.

The Resource Center consolidates all nursing home information, guidance and resources into a user-friendly, one-stop-shop that is easily navigable so providers and caregivers can spend less time searching for critical answers and more time caring for residents. Moreover, the new platform contains features specific to residents and their families, ensuring they have the information needed to make empowered decisions about their healthcare.

With the new page, people can efficiently navigate all facility inspection reports and data – including COVID-19 pandemic and PHE information. This tool will remain active through and beyond the COVID-19 PHE.

CMS identified opportunities for improvement during its ongoing review of nursing home quality and safety operations, infection control and PHE compliance updates. The independent Coronavirus Commission for Quality and Safety in Nursing Homes that convened during the summer of 2020 found similar needs.

CMS is committed to improve the health of all Americans, increase access to better care and transform the nation’s healthcare delivery. The Nursing Home Resource Center website demonstrates the Trump Administration’s commitment to ensuring that nursing home facilities and providers have the information they needed to care for residents – both as a part of the COVID-19 response and beyond.

To view the Nursing Home Resource Center, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/nursing-homes.