Biden Administration, CMS, HHS, HRSA and CDC increase access to COVID-19 vaccines

The Biden Administration has hit the ground running to roll vaccines out across communities, especially the underserved and uninsured. In the administration’s latest efforts, 700 community health centers have been added to the initiative to increase the number of vaccinated Americans. Payers are stepping up to join the administration’s initiatives by increasing financial incentives to facilities for doing their part to provide COVID-19 vaccines.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) increased its reimbursement rate for the COVID-19 vaccine(s). The increased reimbursement “rate [supports the] important actions [providers and facilities are taking] to increase the [daily] number of vaccines [provided and the number of people vaccinated. This includes] establishing new or [expanding] existing vaccination sites, conducing patient outreach and education and hiring additional staff. COVID-19 vaccines [that are] administered on or after March 15, 2021, will be [reimbursed] $40 [per] dose. The exact payment rate for administration of each dose will depend on the type [and the location] of entity” providing the vaccine(s).

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released a program, Uninsured Program, which aligns with CMS’ payment rate and almost doubles the reimbursement rate to those administering the COVID-19 vaccines to those that are uninsured. “Health care entities that have conducted COVID-19 testing of uninsured individuals with a COVID-19 diagnosis on or after February 4, 2020, [may] request reimbursement through the program electronically and will be reimbursed at Medicare rates. [This is] subject to available funding.”

“’Everyone in America should have equal opportunity to be as healthy as possible,’ said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky.”

Joining in on the advancement of COVID-19 is none other than the CDC. The CDC believes that health is an equal, important personal choice. The organization plans to “invest $2.25 billion over two years to address COVID-19-related health disparities and advance health equity among populations that are at high-risk, underserved and [those that live] in rural areas.” The plan offers:

  • Grants to public health departments to improve testing and contact tracing capabilities
  • Develop innovative mitigation and prevention resources and services
  • Improve data collection and reporting
  • Build, leverage and expand infrastructure support
  • Mobilize partners and collaborators to advance health equity and address social determinants of health as they relate to COVID-19.

The Biden Administration has a plan to expand the COVID-19 vaccine roll out to 950 community health centers, increasing the total by 700 community health centers to serve and vaccinate those that are uninsured and/or underserved. According to a fact sheet released on March 25, 2021, in its COVID-19 response, “the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will invest nearly $10 billion to expand access to vaccines and better serve communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations and other underserved communities. [The purpose of] this funding [is to] expand access to vaccines for vulnerable populations and increase vaccine confidence [nationwide]. HHS will invest more than $6 billion from the American Rescue Plan into community health centers nationwide. [Starting in April] HRSA will provide funding to nearly 1,400 centers.”

Click here for information detailing how this funding is being distributed to health centers, including state-by-state breakdowns and an interactive funding map.

Click here for the list of HRSA’s FAQs for COVID-19 Reimbursement to health care providers and facilities for testing, treatment and vaccine administration.

Are you billing the COVID-19 vaccines correctly and receiving the correct reimbursement rate? Our Medical Billing Specialists can help ensure you get paid right the first time for your integral part in achieving herd immunity while also protecting your patients and driving your revenue.

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