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Amid Crisis, Colorado's Medicaid Program Sees Huge Projected Membership Increases

Amid Crisis, Colorado's Medicaid Program Sees Huge Projected Membership Increases

Posted: April 15, 2020

Kim Bimestefer, executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, reports huge increases in Medicaid enrollment since COVID-19 arrived in Colorado. Full story
Although we have seen dramatic increases in our member numbers before -- especially when we expanded Health First Colorado under the Affordable Care Act -- we have never experienced a projected membership increase of this magnitude in such a short span of time. To adapt, we are implementing numerous system and policy changes under challenging time constraints; we appreciate your partnership through this time of dynamic change:
  • As a first step, we moved in lock step with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and federal guidance to reduce exposure for our most vulnerable -- those in long-term care facilities and other populations who are more susceptible to COVID-19 -- through a number of provider care directives.
  • We have taken steps to reduce administrative burden on providers through requests for program flexibility from our federal partners.
  • We've asked our county partners and all vendors to activate their continuity of operations plans -- including work from home capability -- to ensure they can answer the phones and serve our members during the state of emergency.
  • We have reduced face-to-face engagement requirements where clinically appropriate and enabled telemedicine as an alternative. And we've enacted temporary enhancements to our telemedicine policy to improve overall access to care for our members to further mitigate the spread of the virus. 
 
American Hospital Association Urges CMS To Provide Flexibility For Home Health Agencies

American Hospital Association Urges CMS To Provide Flexibility For Home Health Agencies

Posted: April 14, 2020

The AHA today urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to use its authority to extend to home health agencies additional relief to enhance their role in supporting and optimizing the overall health care system response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, AHA urged CMS to allow home health agencies, as it has done with other providers, to be allowed to count telehealth encounters as in-person visits for payment purposes.

"Importantly, this relief would provide another layer of protection to both home health staff and patients," AHA said. "Home health staff when treating Medicare beneficiaries are currently still required to engage in some amount of in-person care." In addition, AHA urged CMS to provide flexibility to use verbal orders and eligibility certifications in order to expedite safe and timely discharges from hospitals to home care.

 
Please Share With Legislators The Important Work You're Doing During The Pandemic

SECOND APPEAL: Please Share With Legislators The Important Work You're Doing During The Pandemic

To Colorado home-care agency owners, managers, caregivers, and patients, especially in the following areas: Arvada, Adams County/Commerce City, Northwest Colorado and Pueblo.

The Home Care & Hospice Association of Colorado is asking legislators of the Joint Budget Committee to reinvest some of the $350M in Medicaid enhancement funds they're receiving into Colorado's Medicaid Home Health, IHSS and HCBS reimbursements. 

Please tell legislators -- IN YOUR OWN WORDS -- the important work you're doing during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the difficulties you've faced and the obstacles you've overcome. 
Here's how to do it: 
  • Please click this link and fill in the fields on the form especially all the boxes with an asterisk
  • ADD YOUR OWN SUBJECT LINE AND MESSAGE - it's important for legislators to know the good work you're doing AMID THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
  • DON'T WORRY about selecting your House or Senate District -- that functionality isn't working right now
  • Submit your message BY APRIL 17
  • It's best if legislators hear from as many people as possible. Please feel free to share the form to your employees and others. 
Thanks, Don Knox, Executive Director, Home Care & Hospice Association of Colorado
 
COVID-19 Testing Offered To Healthcare Workers & First Responders

 

COVID-19 Testing Offered To Healthcare Workers & First Responders

Health-care workers can call 303-692-2700 to be directed to a state testing facility. Some private testing centers have opened, as well. 

  • AURORA: A private testing provider, STRIDE CHC- Aurora Health & Wellness Plaza, 10680 Del Mar Parkway, Aurora, CO  80010, is prioritizing testing for Healthcare Workers with symptoms. NO PAYMENT IS DUE AT THE TIME OF TESTING.  Insurance information will be collected, if you have insurance. If you have insurance, please bring your insurance card. More information
  • BRIGHTON: A private provider, Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine, offers drive-up, Coronavirus testing to our communities. Testing will be conducted Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm. If you are experiencing fever, chills/rigors, headache, non-productive cough, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), please call our online visit phone number at 303-558-0509. More information. About the location.
  • COLORADO SPRINGS:  Testing is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Fridayvery back parking lot of 175 S. Union Blvd at the corner of South Parkside and South Union Blvd., Colorado Springs. No doctor's note or prescription is required, but some symptoms -- even mild -- must be reported. You must present identification that delineates an affiliation as a healthcare worker or first responder. The definitions are very broad, please call if you are not sure you qualify: Lisa Powell, 719-439-3775
  • CORTEZ, DURANGO, PAGOSA SPRINGS: COVID-19 testing will be available at San Juan Basin Public Health Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Testing is open and available to all individuals but appointments are required. Cost is $50, but might be covered by insurance. Please call Cedar Diagnostics for appointments, payment information, and testing locations at 970-247-0937, (dial 2 for Durango and Pagosa Springs, dial 3 for Cortez). Individuals who do not make an advance appointment will not be tested. For more information, go to sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/.
  • DENVER STAPLETON: A private provider, Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine, offers drive-up, Coronavirus testing to our communities. Testing will be conducted Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm. If you are experiencing fever, chills/rigors, headache, non-productive cough, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), please call our online visit phone number at 303-558-0509More information. About the location.
  • LAFAYETTE: A private provider, Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine, offers drive-up, Coronavirus testing to our communities. Testing will be conducted Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm. If you are experiencing fever, chills/rigors, headache, non-productive cough, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), please call our online visit phone number at 303-558-0509More information. About the location.
    LOVELAND TO PUEBLO, EIGHT LOCATIONS: CDPHE is currently partnering with Kaiser Permanente to help provide COVID-19 testing to symptomatic health care workers and first responders -- including those who are not Kaiser members -- who do not have access to testing through their employer. To schedule an appointment, contact CDPHE at 303-692-2700 and ask to speak with a clinical consultant about Kaiser testing. Once approved by CDPHE, you will be able to schedule an appointment at one of Kaiser’s testing tents if appointment slots are available. Tests are run at the CDPHE laboratory, and results will be reported out by CDPHE directly to the patient. 
  • LOVELAND: The State of Colorado has begun testing health care workers for COVID-19 at The Ranch Events Complex, 5280 Arena Cir., Ste. 100, Loveland, CO 80538. The lab capacity is limited to 125 tests daily, so physicians are encouraged to arrive early. They will accept individuals for testing that meet the following criteria: 1) You are a health care worker - must have identification or proof of affiliation. 2) You must be symptomatic - cough, shortness of breath, fever. You must bring a picture ID and health insurance card (no one will be turned away with no insurance). Your temperature will be checked using a no-touch thermometer. Do not take any fever-reducing medication six hours prior to testing. 
  • WHEAT RIDGE / JEFFCO: A private testing provider, STRIDE CHC- Jeffco Family Health Services Center, 7495 W. 29th Avenue, Wheat Ridge,  CO 80033, is prioritizing testing for Healthcare Workers with symptoms. NO PAYMENT IS DUE AT THE TIME OF TESTING.  Insurance information will be collected, if you have insurance. If you have insurance, please bring your insurance card. More information

If you know of an additional testing center, please let us know at [email protected]

 

 

 
Nearly 40% of Coronavirus Deaths in Colorado Linked to Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care Facilities

Nearly 40% of Coronavirus Deaths in Colorado Linked to Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care Facilities

Nearly 40% of the people who’ve died of complications from the novel coronavirus in Colorado were living in nursing homes or residential health care facilities, according to the most recently available state data — with a single Greeley elder-care center reporting at least 14 COVID-19 deaths at its location alone, The Denver Post reports.

The cumulative fatality data provided to The Denver Post by state health officials Friday only takes into account deaths recorded as of April 5, and a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment cautioned the number of COVID-19 fatalities at such facilities is likely higher by now.

Full story

 
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