Certintell’s newest blog series, “Industry Insights,” takes a look at what topics are buzzing with popularity in the mHealth and care management arena for FQHCs and other community-based organizations. Here, you can explore how legislation might affect your workflows, what statistics might be preventing better patient outcomes and tips for pushing past your biggest care barriers. Stay on top of what FQHC news you should know below!
New and Extended Flexibilities for Providers
HHS Increases Funding for CHCs:
Americans living in rural areas are more likely to have less access to quality healthcare. This is leading to a surge of rural communities experiencing increased health disparities such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, suicide, and maternal mortality.
To combat this, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced investments of nearly $60 million to increase access to quality care in rural communities and grow the healthcare workforce.
Specifically, the Biden-Harris Administration hopes to increase health outcomes for this vulnerable population by investing $46 million in 31 community-based organizations to expand workforce development.
Telehealth Flexibilities Extended Past 2024
On July 28, the US House of Representatives passed the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act of 2021 (HR 4040), a move which extended telehealth flexibilities through December 31, 2024.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress enacted legislation that would expand telehealth access for Medicare beneficiaries. However, these extended flexibilities were set to expire five months after the public health emergency officially ended. With this new bill, patients and providers can continue their use of remote care for two more years.
Additionally, this bill introduces new flexibilities that support improved access to care such as:
- Coverage of audio-only telehealth
- Increasing the number of services that can be offered by providers
- Increasing geographical locations where Medicare beneficiaries can receive care
- Extending reimbursement for services provided by Rural and Federally Qualified Health Centers.
Children Are Our Future
Biden Administration Pushes States to Expand Mental Health Services for Children Using Medicaid and CHIP
In mid-August, the Biden Administration announced three actions it will take in the next year to ensure the nation’s children have increased access to mental health care, as younger generations face an increasingly large mental health crisis.
Two new guidance documents were released, one of which reinforces Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment statutory mandates for children’s health coverage. The second guidance document encourages cross-sector partnerships to implement more school-based mental health initiatives. As part of a third effort for this campaign, the Biden Administration is introducing new mandatory quality reporting measures, which it hopes will strengthen Medicaid’s and CHIP’s efforts.
Advocates Lobby for Telehealth in Transgender Youth Care
Gender-affirming health care assists in improving the health and emotional well-being of transgender youth. With recent state bans on gender-affirming services, transgender minors are finding it hard to access care. This blockage leaves their needs unaddressed and leaves them disproportionately more likely to struggle with mental illness.
This type of specialized care is more than hormones and surgery; social and mental health support are also integral to a healthy patient experience. Recent studies show that more than half of transgender youth have attempted suicide. Some are arguing that having access to remote therapy and peer-support groups will reduce these numbers. In accordance, advocates are lobbying for the use of telehealth to help health systems address these gaps in care regardless of geographical location.