The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will convene July 22 to discuss a pair of recent issues related to COVID-19 vaccines. The agenda released ahead of the meeting includes discussion of the reported risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which recently prompted the Food and…
As reported here on June 15, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present. During the period of the emergency standard, covered healthcare…
As reported in NAHC Report on June 15, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present. During the period of the emergency standard, covered healthcare employers must develop and implement a COVID-19 plan to identify and control COVID-19 hazards in the workplace.
On Thursday, July 8, OSHA announced it will publish a notice in the Federal Register to extend the comment period for the COVID-19 healthcare emergency temporary standard (ETS) to August 20, 2021.
OSHA is extending the comment period by 30 days to allow stakeholders additional time to review the ETS and collect information and data necessary for comment.
Comments can be submitted electronically for Docket No. OSHA-2020-0004 via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for making electronic submissions.
More information about the ETS is available at: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets.
Thursday, July 1, 2021, 3:00 – 4:30 PM ET Registration Vaccine uptake among direct service workers (DSWs) is particularly important for personal health and safety and to the many individuals that DSWs support, due to the high contact, personal nature of home care. However, DSWs experience many barriers to vaccination including culturally competent and accessible…
- Thursday, July 1, 2021, 3:00 – 4:30 PM ET
Vaccine uptake among direct service workers (DSWs) is particularly important for personal health and safety and to the many individuals that DSWs support, due to the high contact, personal nature of home care. However, DSWs experience many barriers to vaccination including culturally competent and accessible information, paid sick leave and/or time off, and transportation.
In this webinar, experts in the field will discuss demographics of the DSW workforce, barriers to vaccination, strategies to increase vaccine confidence and uptake, and promising practices.
- Cory Nourie, Director of Community Services, Delaware Division of Developmental Disabilities Services
- Ramu Iyer, National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals Advisory Council Member
- Robert Espinoza, Vice President of Policy, PHI
- Trudy Rebert, Federal Policy Counsel, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Questions? Please contact Meredith Raymond
From our partners at Polsinelli As COVID-19 vaccinations rates increase and COVID-19 related restrictions ease across the country, many homecare employers find themselves with two new but related challenges: (1) more clients are requesting only vaccinated caregivers; and (2) more facilities where clients reside are restricting access to only those who are vaccinated. So is…
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present. During the period of the emergency standard, covered healthcare employers must develop and implement a COVID-19…
Overview page Full guidance On June 11, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released revised reporting requirements for the Provider Relief Fund, which bolstered health care providers facing major revenue problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS also added flexibility for providers to spend funding if they received it after June 30, 2020. However,…
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) hosted a Special Open Door Forum on the increased payment amounts for providers that vaccinate homebound Medicare beneficiaries for the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Effective June 8, 2021, Medicare will pay an additional amount of $35 per dose for administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the home for…
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced an additional payment amount for administering in-home COVID-19 vaccinations to Medicare beneficiaries who have difficulty leaving their homes or are otherwise hard-to-reach.
There are approximately 1.6 million adults 65 or older who may have trouble accessing COVID-19 vaccinations because they have difficulty leaving home.
To better serve Medicare beneficiaries who have great difficulty leaving their homes or face a taxing effort getting around their communities easily to access vaccination in these settings, Medicare will pay an additional $35 per dose for COVID-19 vaccine administration in a beneficiary’s home, increasing the total payment amount for at-home vaccination from approximately $40 to approximately $75 per vaccine dose. For a two-dose vaccine, this results in a total payment of approximately $150 for the administration of both doses, or approximately $70 more than the current rate.
“This is a very positive step forward. We thank the White House and CMS for the productive discussions on vaccinating homebound patients in the past few weeks,” said NAHC President Bill Dombi, in reaction to the news. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with them in getting vaccines to a very vulnerable group of individuals who cannot otherwise secure the life-saving Covid vaccines.”
Said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-Lasure: “CMS is committed to meeting the unique needs of Medicare consumers and their communities – particularly those who are home bound or who have trouble getting to a vaccination site. That’s why we’re acting today to expand the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to people with Medicare at home. We’re committed to taking action wherever barriers exist and bringing the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to the door of older adults and other individuals covered by Medicare who still need protection.”
Delivering COVID-19 vaccination to access-challenged and hard-to-reach individuals poses some unique challenges, such as ensuring appropriate vaccine storage temperatures, handling, and administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined guidance to assist vaccinators in overcoming these challenges. Today’s announcement now helps to address the financial burden associated with accommodating these complications.
The additional payment amount also accounts for the clinical time needed to monitor a beneficiary after the vaccine is administered, as well as the upfront costs associated with administering the vaccine safely and appropriately in a beneficiary’s home. The payment rate for administering each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the additional in-home payment amount, will be geographically adjusted based on where the service is furnished.
How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine
As today’s action demonstrates, a person’s ability to leave their home should not be an obstacle to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. As states and the federal government continue to break down barriers – like where vaccines can be administered – resources for connecting communities to vaccination options remain key. Unvaccinated individuals and those looking to assist friends and family can:
- Visit vaccines.gov (English) or vacunas.gov (Spanish) to search for vaccines nearby.
- Text GETVAX (438829) for English or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish for near-instant access to details on three vaccine sites in the local area.
- Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 (TTY: 1-888-720-7489) for assistance in English and Spanish.
Coverage of COVID-19 Vaccines
The federal government is providing the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge or with no cost-sharing for all people living in the United States. As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, vaccine providers cannot charge patients any amount for administering the vaccine.
Because no patient can be billed for COVID-19 vaccinations, CMS and its partners have provided a variety of information online for providers vaccinating all Americans regardless of their insurance status:
- Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage: Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines or their administration, and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance or deductible.
- Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP):State Medicaid and CHIP agencies must cover COVID-19 vaccine administration with no cost sharing for nearly all beneficiaries during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) and for over a year after it ends. For the very limited number of Medicaid beneficiaries who are not eligible for this coverage (and do not receive it through other coverage they might have), providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to underinsured individuals through the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), as discussed below. Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the federal matching percentage for state Medicaid and CHIP expenditures on COVID-19 vaccine administration is currently 100% (as of April 1, 2021), and will remain 100% for more than a year after the COVID-19 PHE ends. The ARP also expands coverage of COVID-19 vaccine administration under Medicaid and CHIP to additional eligibility groups. CMS recently updated the Medicaid vaccine toolkit to reflect the enactment of the ARP at https://www.medicaid.gov/state-resource-center/downloads/covid-19-vaccine-toolkit.pdf.
- Private Plans: The vaccine is free for people enrolled in private health plans and issuers COVID-19 vaccine and its administration is covered without cost sharing for most enrollees, and such coverage must be provided both in-network and out-of-network during the PHE. Current regulations provide that out-of-network rates must be reasonable as compared to prevailing market rates, and the rules reference using the Medicare payment rates as a potential guideline for insurance companies. In light of CMS’s increased Medicare payment rates, CMS will expect health insurance issuers and group health plans to continue to ensure their rates are reasonable when compared to prevailing market rates. Under the conditions of participation in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program, providers cannot charge plan enrollees any administration fee or cost sharing, regardless of whether the COVID-19 vaccine is administered in-network or out-of-network.
The federal government is providing free access to COVID-19 vaccines for every adult living in the United States. For individuals who are underinsured, providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine through the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) after the claim to the individual’s health plan for payment has been denied or only partially paid. Information is available at https://www.hrsa.gov/covid19-coverage-assistance.
For individuals who are uninsured, providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals without insurance through the Provider Relief Fund, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Information on the COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing, Treatment, and Vaccine Administration for the Uninsured Program is available at https://www.hrsa.gov/CovidUninsuredClaim.
More information on Medicare payment for COVID-19 vaccine administration – including a list of billing codes, payment allowances and effective dates – is available at https://www.cms.gov/medicare/covid-19/medicare-covid-19-vaccine-shot-payment.
More information regarding the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Requirements and how the COVID-19 vaccine is provided through that program at no cost to recipients is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/vaccination-provider-support.html.