In The News

From Alabama to Utah, Efforts to Vaccinate Medicaid Enrollees Against Covid Run Into Obstacles

KHN / By Phil Galewitz

Medicaid enrollees continue to get vaccinated against covid at far lower rates than the general population despite vigorous outreach efforts by government officials and private organizations to get low-income people inoculated, according to data from several states.

That leaves many Medicaid enrollees — who tend to be sicker than those with private insurance — at higher risk for severe illness, hospitalization, or death from the virus.

Nationally, more than 215 million Americans — including 75% of adults and 57% of children ages 12 to 17 — are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among children 5 to 11 years old, who have only been eligible for a shot since early November, about 25% have been fully vaccinated. A vaccine has not yet been authorized for children younger than 5.

Read more @ KHN


Biden Administration Launches Nationwide Test-to-Treat Initiative Ensuring Rapid ‘On the Spot’ Access to Lifesaving COVID Treatments

[The] Biden-Harris Administration is launching a new nationwide Test to Treat initiative that will give individuals an important new way to rapidly access free lifesaving treatment for COVID-19.

Through this program, people who test positive for COVID-19 will in one stop, be assessed by a qualified health care provider who can prescribe antiviral pills on the spot. This ensures that, if people who are at high risk for developing severe disease test positive and if administration of an antiviral is appropriate, they can get treatment quickly and easily.

The Test to Treat Initiative will also include new actions to educate the public about the availability of new treatments and the importance of starting them soon after the onset of symptoms; and provide information to health care providers about these new treatments.

A full fact sheet about this initiative from HHS can be found through the link below:


Almost a Third of People Report Lingering Symptom 6-12 Months After COVID-19 Study

Almost a third of people report at least one ongoing symptom between 6 and 12 months after their coronavirus infection, a survey of 152,000 people in Denmark has found.

The study includes one of the largest groups yet of people who were not hospitalised with COVID, and followed them for longer than other major studies, the researchers from Denmark's State Serum Institute (SSI) said.

The questionnaire-based study suggested that the most commonly reported long-term symptoms were changes in sense of smell and taste, as well as fatigue.

Read more @ Reuters


Several Important Health Care Provisions in Omnibus Federal Funding Bill

The Senate passed a $1.5 trillion Omnibus spending package to fund the federal government for the current fiscal year, after Democrats and Republicans resolved disagreements to quickly send $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine.

Several anticipated healthcare features were cut from the draft. For example, $15 billion in health care COVID-19 relief funding was pulled out with reports that it will be run as a standalone to, among other things, continue and fund the federal government’s supply of coronavirus therapeutics.

The bill is also missing continued relief from the 2% Medicare sequestration payment cuts. This means that beginning April 1, 2002, and through June 30, 2022, there will be a 1% across-the-board reduction in Medicare payments. The full 2% cuts would begin July, 2022.

On a positive note, hospice several telehealth waivers will be extended for 5 months after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), allowing hospices to perform the face-to-face (F2F) recertification visit via telehealth; use audio-only; and allow patients to receive telehealth servings in their own homes and in non-rural parts of the country. The flexibility for hospices to deliver routine home care using telehealth and telephone technology would not be extended by the bill. Neither would certain telehealth CPT codes that have been used by palliative care providers during the pandemic be continued for that purpose.

A summary of the House’s Labor-Health and Human Services portion of the bill, where most of the health care provisions can be found, can be accessed HERE.

Additional summary and explanatory documents related to the House's bill can be found on the House Appropriation Committee’s press release page HEREFull text of the Senate's bill was not available at the writing of this article.  


APTA CSM 2022 On-Demand is Under Way! 

Access On Demand In March

If you registered for APTA CSM On Demand, or attended in San Antonio, you have unlimited access to on-demand content through the month of March. Use your APTA CSM Record ID (not your member number) to sign in to the platform. (The Record ID is found in your registration confirmation email, and is also printed on the badges of onsite attendees.) Additional info and FAQs are provided on the conference platform.

Not Registered? Deadline is March 11

An on-demand option will be available March 1-31, with more than 100 recorded educational sessions from the in-person event curated by conference program chairs from each section.

You must register for APTA CSM On-Demand by March 11. All registrations are final. (Registrants for the in-person conference in San Antonio get free access to the On-Demand content without CEUs.)

Choose between on-demand with CEUs or on-demand without CEUs. Given the state of the pandemic, effective Jan. 21 APTA has increased available on-demand CEUs to 1.8 (18 contact hours), up from the original 1.2 (12 contact hours). All content must be viewed and all CEUs must be earned in the March 1-31 virtual conference window.

Click here for more information. 

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