Recently the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided a number of resources aimed at helping the public and healthcare community.
These resources offer guidance regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations, Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grants and additional COVID-19 Resources. The following information can be extremely valuable in navigating the needs in your community.1. CDC Recommended Strategies for Initial COVID-19 Vaccination: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention produced a guide intended to assist state, tribal, local, or territorial immunization programs with planning for the first three phases of vaccination:
- Phase 1a includes healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.
- Phase 1b covers frontline essential workers and individuals aged 75 years and older.
- Phase 1c, consists of other essential workers, persons 65-74 years of age, and individuals 16-64 years of age with underlying medical conditions.
The guide is intended to assist state, tribal, local, or territorial (STLT) immunization programs and other immunization partners in planning for the vaccination of these populations. Using various strategies, some with commonality across groups, and others unique for specific populations, are to be considered for reaching these populations for COVID-19 vaccination. CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations has additional operational considerations to consider for COVID-19 vaccination planning.
As outlined by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) individual states look to and often follow these guidelines. However the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) only provides recommendations which are not binding. Each state has the authority to follow their own protocols. Yet as outlined by KFF most states look to and often follow the federal recommendations, yet some states may choose to depart from the prioritization sequence outlined by the ACIP. In particular they may find it necessary to adjust protocols due to initial shortages of the vaccine or other local factors. Their findings found that almost all states will adhere to ACIP guidelines for initial allocations of Phase 1a and look further to the ACIP for their future decisions on subsequent phases. KFF’s reporting includes a table of Sources for State Prioritization Criteria that details current plans for each state.
2. SAMHSA Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Expansion Grants: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2021. They will provide 74 awards from total funding of $149 million to increase access to and improve the quality of community behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment services. Eligible applicants are Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) or community-based behavioral health clinics who may not yet be certified, yet meet the criteria and are expecting to be certified within 4 months of the award. The application due date is Monday, March 1, 2021.
CCBHCs provide integrated mental health services for individuals and families. This grant program is intended to provide access to services including:
- 24/7 crisis intervention services for individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) or substance use disorders (SUD), including opioid use disorders.
- Children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance (SED).
- Individuals with co-occurring mental and substance disorders (COD).
SAMHSA intends for this program to provide comprehensive 24/7 access to community-based mental and substance use disorder services, treatment of co-occurring disorders, and other physical healthcare needs to these individuals and families in one single location.
3. COVID-19 Resources: The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy also recently provided a number of additional resources to update the healthcare community on current COVID-19 news that can be accessed from the links below:
- Federal Office of Rural Health Policy FAQs for COVID-19. A set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our grantees and stakeholders.
- COVID-19 FAQs and Funding for HRSA Programs. Find all funding and frequently asked questions for programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
- CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Frequently Asked Questions. Includes information on terms and conditions, attestation, reporting and auditing requirements, general and targeted distributions, and how to report capital equipment purchases.
- CDC COVID-19 Updates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates and guidance, including a section specific to rural health care, a Toolkit for Tribal Communities, and a tracker of cases, deaths, and tests by county. Plus the CDC is now providing a COVID-19 Toolkit for Healthcare Providers. Healthcare providers and health departments can request a consultation for a complex COVID-19 vaccine safety issue.
- CMS Coronavirus Stakeholder Calls. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) hosts recurring online sessions to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS.
- HHS Coronavirus Data Hub. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website includes estimated and reported hospital capacity by state, with numbers updated daily.
- COVID-19 Data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The site provides access to demographic and economic data, including state and local data on at-risk populations, poverty, health insurance coverage, and employment.
- ATTC Network COVID-19 Resources for Addictions Treatment. The Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network was established in 1993 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The online catalog of COVID-related resources includes regularly-updated guidance and trainings for professionals in the field.
- GHPC’s Collection of Rural Health Strategies for COVID-19. The FORHP-supported Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) provides reports, guidance, and innovative strategies gleaned from their technical assistance and peer learning sessions with FORHP grantees.
- Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties. The RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis provides up-to-date data on rural and urban confirmed cases throughout the United States. An animated map shows the progression of cases beginning January 21 to the present.
- Rural Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019. The Rural Health Information Hub has a compendium of rural-specific activities and guidelines, including Rural Healthcare Surge Readiness, a tool with resources for responding to a local surge in cases.
- SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created this list of resources, tools, and trainings.
- Mobilizing Health Care Workforce via Telehealth. Up-to-date information on emergency regulation and licensing by state as well as a provider portal to connect volunteer health care professionals to state agencies and health care entities.
- Online Resource for Licensure of Health Professionals. Created by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, the site provides up-to-date information on emergency regulation and licensing in each state for psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists assistants, and social workers.
The CDC and HRSA provide current information and news on a regular basis that is pertinent to the healthcare community in America. They have resources and a knowledge base that everyone in healthcare should refer to. It is a good idea to check their websites regularly to stay up to date on information and data that can help you ensure the best health services for your community.