Budget Blog

July 29, 2021 - Health Care Issues Update

By Stacey Mazer posted 07-29-2021 12:44 PM


HHS Directing $1.6 Billion for Testing and Mitigation in Vulnerable Communities

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $1.6 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds to support testing and mitigation measures in high-risk congregate settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This funding will expand activities to detect, diagnose, trace and monitor infections and mitigate spread in homeless shelters, treatment and recovery facilities, domestic violence shelters and correctional facilities. Funds will be invested across multiple agencies and programs.


HHS Report Examines State Medicaid Telehealth Policies Before and During the Pandemic

This issue brief by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) examines state Medicaid telehealth coverage and policies before and after the COVID-19 public health emergency was declared in January 2020. The brief includes state examples of guidance to Medicaid managed health care plans on telehealth and state examples of policy changes and experiences. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and states significantly expanded access to telehealth to ensure that Medicaid enrollees could receive health care services outside of their regular health care delivery sites.


HHS and DOJ Release Guidance on Long-Term Symptoms of COVID-19 and Disability

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) jointly published guidance on how long-term symptoms of COVID-19 can be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. The document discusses when long COVID may be considered a disability under these laws and shares examples along with related resources that may be helpful. Additional details about the guidance can be found here.


HHS Announces $121 Million to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations in Underserved Communities

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is providing $121 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to support the work of trusted community-based efforts to increase vaccinations in underserved communities. These awards will go to community-based organizations across the country that are working in their communities to build vaccine confidence, share factual information about vaccines, and answer people's questions about getting vaccinated. This is in addition to previously announced funding of $250 million and $125 million to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in underserved communities.


CMS Provides Update Since Public Charge Final Rule No Longer in Effect

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an informational bulletin about policies currently in place since the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule has been vacated and is no longer in effect and reminds states about the requirement to safeguard applicant and beneficiary information. Under the 1999 Interim Field Guidance, the policy that was in place before the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule went into effect, the Department of Homeland Security is not considering an individual’s receipt of Medicaid benefits as part of the public charge determination. The one exception is for individuals who are institutionalized for long-term care and are receiving Medicaid coverage for their institutional services.


HHS Announces $98 Million for Rural Health Clinics

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided $98 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to rural health clinics to help support outreach efforts to increase vaccinations in rural communities. The funds will go to more than 1,980 Rural Health Clinics to develop and implement additional vaccine confidence and outreach efforts, with approximately $49,500 awarded per clinic site. State by state awards can be found here


HRSA Awards Funds to Strengthen and Expand Community-Based Residency Programs

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced an effort to strengthen and expand community-based primary care medical and dental residency programs in rural and underserved communities. These investments will support current residents in Teaching Health Centers, create new community-based primary care residency programs, and expand the number of full-time equivalent resident positions at existing and new Teaching Health Centers.


CMS Launches the Infant Well-Child Visit Learning Collaborative

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the new Infant Well-Child Visit Learning Collaborative, which is a part of the Maternal and Infant Health Initiative, to support state efforts to increase the number of infants receiving high-quality well-child care.  The learning collaborative will offer technical assistance to state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies and their partners through a webinar series and an affinity group for states interested in implementing quality improvement strategies.