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Compliance Corner July 2023
The Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program began in February 2021 to ensure our nation’s medically underserved communities and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19 had direct access to COVID-19 vaccines through HRSA-supported health centers.
Through this program alone, health centers have administered nearly 10 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program will end next month, with the last day to order vaccines scheduled for Wednesday, August 23. Moving forward, health centers can continue to access COVID-19 vaccines through the supply available via states and jurisdictions. Additionally, HHS recently announced the HHS Bridge Access Program For COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments to maintain broad access to COVID-19 vaccines for millions of uninsured.
HRSA’s Health Center COVID-19 Therapeutics Program and COVID-19 Testing Supply Program will continue, and their ordering schedules will not change at this time.
In response to feedback and to other factors, HRSA have reduced the frequency of the COVID-19 survey. The next survey will open on Friday, July 7. HRSA is asking you to report data for the entire month of June (Thursday, June 1, through Friday, June 30) in that survey. The survey will close on Thursday, July 13.
In subsequent months, the survey will open on the first Friday of the month and be open for five business days.
HRSA has also reduced the number of questions we ask. Below are the changes, using the question numbers (and brief descriptions) from the current survey. Look at the COVID-19 Data Collection Survey Tool User Guide for the exact question language.
4: How quickly your health center gets test results
5-6: How many patients received a test / tested positive, by race and ethnicity (A question is added: Total number of patients tested for COVID-19)
8-8a: Masks distributed through the HRSA Health Center COVID-19 N95 Mask Program
HRSA has also consolidated vaccine-related questions 10-12, 16-21.
June 27: CMS provided guidance to states on implementing new mandatory vaccine coverage for adults to reduce hospitalizations, deaths, and morbidity. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) mandates Medicaid and CHIP coverage of Food and Drug Administration approved adult vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and their administration, without cost-sharing beginning October 1, 2023. This coverage applies to nearly all full-benefit people covered under traditional Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries aged 19 and older. The CMS letter to states can be viewed here. Additional details can be found on this fact sheet.
June 29: The updated Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) Manual was released June 29. The updated manual is on the HAB website in the recipient resources page. This manual serves as a reference document for ADAPs and RWHAP Part B recipients. New ADAP staff are highly encouraged to review the document.
Access the 2023 ADAP Manual.
June 14 – This week, HRSA announced nearly $9 million in awards to strengthen and expand the mental health and substance use workforce in underserved and rural communities. This funding will provide support to 20 grantees to train health care providers to provide care for individuals in need of mental health and substance use services.
June 15: The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline are federal government programs that help eligible households pay for internet services and internet connected devices. Households may be eligible to receive both the ACP and Lifeline programs, and combine with other state and local benefits where available.
Eligibility for ACP and Lifeline programs is based on income or meeting other criteria. Individuals and families are automatically eligible if they belong to programs such as:
Share with patients more about the Affordable Connectivity Program Enhanced Tribal Benefit and the Enhanced Lifeline Benefits for Tribal Lands. The ACP Consumer Outreach Toolkit includes materials to share with patients, print for waiting rooms, or distribute at community events.
Source: HRSA Office for the Advancement of Telehealth
CMS announced the Making Care Primary (MCP) Model, a voluntary model to be tested in eight states – Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Washington. It seeks to improve care by expanding and enhancing care management and care coordination, equipping primary care clinicians with tools to form partnerships with health care specialists, and leveraging community-based connections to address patients’ health needs as well as their health-related social needs. Read the press release.
CMS is partnering with state Medicaid agencies and other payers in the eight states to align MCP and state programs. Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in these states are eligible to apply to participate in the 10.5-year model that will begin July 1, 2024. CMS will begin accepting applications in late summer 2023. Visit CMS’ website for more.
June 14: The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) is asking for participation by HRSA-funded health centers in an upcoming survey about substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.
OIG is conducting a study examining the provision of SUD treatment at HRSA-funded health centers. They will survey a sample of 450 HRSA-funded health centers on issues related to medications for opioid use disorder, drug counseling, and mental health services. In addition, they will collect information on the barriers or successful strategies that impact the provision of these services. Visit their website for more information about this study (report expected in 2024) and OIG’s other work to improve access to SUD treatment.
If your health center is selected to participate, you will receive an email from email@example.com with important information about completing the survey. Please make sure your voices and experiences are heard. Your responses are crucial to help OIG develop recommendations for program improvements and to ensure access to SUD treatment.