In The News

Biden Announces Long COVID Strategy as Experts Push for More

Washington Post / By Dan Diamond and Frances Stead Sellers 
 
President Biden on Tuesday directed government agencies to take additional steps to research and treat long covid, a condition that remains often mysterious even as it has sickened millions of Americans.
 
Under a memorandum issued by Biden, the Department of Health and Human Services will coordinate a government-wide action plan to address long covid, which is estimated to afflict anywhere from 7.7 million to 23 million Americans, according to a recent federal watchdog report.
 
The government also will issue a report in 120 days detailing available services and support for those who suffer from long covid, accelerate efforts to enroll participants in a clinical research study and pursue federal protections for people with the condition.
 
The government will expand a nationwide network of long covid clinics being run through the Department of Veterans Affairs, with officials saying they are already providing new insights on how to care for long covid patients. Federal officials will also launch a new initiative, dubbed the “Health+ project,” to solicit feedback from people living with long covid and use it to shape practices at clinics nationwide.
 
Experts who have been studying the condition, which is linked to fatigue, brain fog and other symptoms that can linger for weeks, months or even years, hailed Biden for assembling a government-wide effort to combat long covid. They said it was an overdue recognition of the condition’s impact and reach. But many also said the administration must go further in devoting resources and making long covid a priority, reiterating that millions of people are eager for immediate treatment and help.

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces a New Way for Medicare Beneficiaries to Get Free Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Tests

On April 4, The Biden-Harris Administration announced that more than 59 million Americans with Medicare Part B, including those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, now have access to FDA approved, authorized, or cleared over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at no cost. People with Medicare can get up to 8 tests per calendar month from participating pharmacies and health care providers for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency…

This is the first time that Medicare has covered an over-the-counter self-administered test at no cost to beneficiaries. This new initiative enables payment from Medicare directly to participating eligible pharmacies and other health care providers to allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive tests at no cost, in addition to the 2 sets of 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests Americans can continue to order from covidtests.gov. National pharmacy chains are participating in this initiative, including: Albertsons Companies, Inc., Costco Pharmacy, CVS, Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Pharmacies, H-E-B Pharmacy, Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Kroger Family of Pharmacies, Rite Aid Corp., Shop & Stop, Walgreens, and Walmart…

People with Medicare can get additional information by contacting 1-800-MEDICARE and going to: https://www.medicare.gov/medicare-coronavirus. Medicare also maintains several resources to help ensure beneficiaries receive the correct benefits while also avoiding the potential for fraud or scams. More details—particularly on identifying scams due to COVID-19—can be found at https://www.medicare.gov/basics/reporting-medicare-fraud-and-abuse.

Pharmacies and other health care providers interested in participating in this initiative can get more information here: https://www.cms.gov/COVIDOTCtestsProvider.

More Information:

 

Requests to Report Late Due to Extenuating Circumstances (Provider Relief Fund)

Dear Provider:

Some providers have informed the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that extenuating circumstances prevented them from submitting a completed Provider Relief Fund (PRF) report in Reporting Period 1. Today, HRSA is announcing an opportunity for providers to submit a Request to Report Late Due to Extenuating Circumstances for PRF Reporting Period 1 if one or more of the extenuating circumstances described below apply. 

From Monday, April 11 to Friday, April 22, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET, providers who did not submit their Reporting Period 1 report by the deadline may request to submit a late Reporting Period 1 report, via a DocuSign form, if certain extenuating circumstances exist.

During this process, a provider will chose which extenuating circumstance(s) prevented them from meeting the reporting deadline. The allowable reasons that constitute extenuating circumstances are as follows:

  • Severe illness or death – a severe medical condition or death of a provider or key staff member responsible for reporting hindered the organization’s ability to complete the report during the Reporting Period.
  • Impacted by natural disaster – a natural disaster occurred during or in close proximity of the end of the Reporting Period damaging the organization’s records or information technology. 
  • Lack of receipt of reporting communications – an incorrect email or mailing address on file with HRSA prevented the organization from receiving instructions prior to the Reporting Period deadline.
  • Failure to click “submit” – the organization registered and prepared a report in the PRF Reporting Portal, but failed to take the final step to click “submit” prior to deadline.
  • Internal miscommunication or error – Internal miscommunication or error regarding the individual who was authorized and expected to submit the report on behalf of the organization and/or the registered point of contact in the PRF Reporting Portal.
  •  Incomplete Targeted Distribution payments – the organization’s parent entity completed all General Distribution payments, but a Targeted Distribution(s) was not reported on by the subsidiary.

Requests to Report Late Due to Extenuating Circumstances must indicate and attest to a clear and concise explanation related to the applicable extenuating circumstance; however, supporting documentation will not be required. If HRSA approves the request, the organization will receive a notification to proceed with completing the Reporting Period 1 report. Providers will have 10 days from the date they receive the notification to submit a report in the PRF Reporting Portal.

Providers who plan to submit a Request to Report Late Due to Extenuating Circumstances and have not registered in the PRF Reporting Portal, should complete registration now. Registration instructions are on the PRF Reporting Webpage.

Please note that providers will also have an opportunity to submit a Request to Report Late Due to Extenuating Circumstances for Reporting Period 2 if the extenuating circumstances are applicable. Providers will receive a notification regarding the process to submit a request for RP2 in the coming weeks.

Where can I find more information?

For additional information, please call the Provider Support Line at (866) 569-3522; for TTY dial 711. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday.

Provider Relief Bureau

Health Resources and Services Administration

United States Department of Health and Human Services

 

APTA Centennial Scholars: An Investment in the Profession's Future

Developed in a year that celebrated APTA's history, the APTA Centennial Scholars Program was designed to build future leaders.

Among the many APTA initiatives that were developed to celebrate the association's 100-year anniversary, the APTA Centennial Scholars Program was created to build a cadre of future leaders at both the component and national levels. The program was designed to support APTA's quest for a diverse and prepared leadership pool and invest in the sustainability of the association as it begins its next 100 years.

Click here to read more. 

 

 

New Guidelines Support Physical Therapy's Role in Management of Osteoporosis

The recommendations are focused on the ways PTs can help to affect the decline of bone mineral density.

For individuals with osteoporosis, counteracting the decline of bone mineral density, or BMD, can play a key role in maintaining health and lowering the risk of injury. A newly adopted set of guidelines sheds light on the ways physical therapists can help to address BMD loss through exercise. The guidelines also acknowledge that challenges remain, because effecting change in BMD takes time — anywhere from six months to four years or more. The guidelines, identified by APTA Geriatrics with the support of APTA, and endorsed by the association, include exercise recommendations for premenopausal and postmenopausal women. They do not include specific recommendations for men due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

Click here to read more. 

 
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