Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of March 15
Posted on March 21, 2021
As of March 18, the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard indicated just over 27% of Michigan’s nearly 8.1 million residents ages 16 and above had received at least one dose of a vaccine. The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.
Medicare Payments Rates for COVID-19 Vaccinations Increased
Medicare payments to healthcare providers administering COVID-19 vaccines nearly doubled March 15 when the Biden administration updated the rates with immediate effect. The change is designed to increase the number of providers administering the shots nationwide.
Rates have increased to $40 per dose administered for all three of the currently available vaccines, up from approximately $23 per shot for two-dose vaccines and $28 for the single-dose vaccine.
The White House also announced that the administration will fully cover all Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program beneficiaries’ COVID-19 shots, as mandated by the $1.9 trillion relief package President Joe Biden signed into law March 11.
There are currently more than 2,500 providers enrolled to administer vaccines in Michigan, but most have not been receiving vaccines due to limited supply. The state of Michigan may activate more of those providers to expand the vaccinations to additional populations as more vaccine becomes available.
Member Communication Tools Updated as Data Suggests Spring Surge of COVID-19
The MHA is concerned that data shows the start of a spring COVID-19 surge, with rising levels of case numbers over the first two weeks of March after weeks of plateau, in concert with hospitalizations that have again risen above 1,000. With these data trends in mind, the MHA is emphasizing the need for all Michigan residents to remain cautious, continue to practice proven preventive measures and be vaccinated as soon as a vaccine is available to them. Wearing masks, physically distancing and hand washing continue to be important following vaccination, since the vaccine’s protection doesn’t take full effect for up to a month after the final dose, and it will be several months before the majority of people can be vaccinated.
Members are encouraged to use the association’s updated COVID-19 communication toolkit and their trusted clinicians and healthcare professionals to amplify these messages to their communities. Additional information and talking points may be requested from Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.
Vaccine Allocations to Increase, Eligible Groups and Vaccination Sites Expand
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has continued to urge the federal government to provide additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine. A small allocation of the vaccine is expected to arrive during the week of March 22, and hospitals that receive it are asked to use it for individuals in the inpatient or emergency department settings prior to discharge.
The state has expanded vaccine eligibility to include anyone 16 or older with an underlying medical condition effective March 22. Two weeks later, April 5, anyone 16 and older will become eligible. The complete MDHHS Prioritization Guidance is available on the state's coronavirus webpage.
In addition, several new retail pharmacy settings have joined the federal retail pharmacy vaccination program, including CVS, Walgreen’s, Walmart, Meijer, Rite-Aid, Snyder Drugs, Kroger and many more in Michigan. The federal mass vaccination clinic at Ford Field in Detroit will start vaccinating people March 24. The vaccine doses sent to the federal retail partners and Ford Field are in addition to Michigan’s state allocation of vaccines and are shipped directly to the federal retail partners and Ford Field. These shipments do not affect the supply of doses being sent to hospitals and health departments.
The Ford Field site will vaccinate approximately 6,000 individuals per day at the building and through a mobile clinic. Any Michigander may register for an appointment at the clinic by visiting the online portal, texting “EndCOVID” to 75049 or calling the state’s COVID-19 hotline at (888) 535-06136 and pressing 1. The hotline should be used only by those without internet access and could be the slowest option.
Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).
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