From Us to You

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

There is no question the world as we knew it changed dramatically 4 months ago-- first with the layered impacts of COVID-19, then with the recent wave of nationwide protests and demonstrations against systemic racial injustice in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others.

For many, these series of events have created a new and deeply felt awareness of the inequities and disparities that persist throughout our communities, our state, and our nation. As we grapple with the effects of the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, we, like many others, are taking this opportunity to re-examine ourselves and our focus.

Over the last 28 years, VHCF-funded initiatives have helped Virginians obtain needed medical, dental and behavioral health services; free prescription medicines; and health insurance via the Medicaid/FAMIS programs. While these initiatives have helped many Virginians, including a substantial number of people of color, there is so much more to be done to address health inequities in Virginia. Individuals served by the healthcare safety net, especially racial and ethnic minorities, have higher rates of chronic disease than the general population and have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 

As Virginia’s only statewide health foundation, we take these disparities seriously and strive to help eliminate them via our ongoing mission of increasing access to primary and preventive healthcare. We, like many of our health safety net partners have been on the frontlines of the fight against health inequity for many years. The challenges are even greater now with the many challenges of creating and maintaining safe environments for patients and staff amidst COVID-19.

The need for a strong healthcare safety net in Virginia remains constant, and will be ever more striking as the Commonwealth continues to see record unemployment levels. We at VHCF remain steadfast in our commitment to being part of the solution to health disparities and to increasing access to much-needed healthcare for uninsured and underserved Virginians.

While these times continue to be challenging, it is our hope that we have reached the crossroad which will ultimately provide all in Virginia the opportunity to live without health inequities and to realize our vision that “all Virginians have access to the health care they need.”

Sincerely,

Debbie Oswalt and the VHCF Team
Thousands newly eligible for Insurance via Medicaid and Federal Health Insurance Marketplace
As of June 20, an estimated 465,000 Virginians have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance. Of those, an estimated 265,000, and their families, are eligible for Medicaid ( read a full report from the Kaiser Family Foundation here ) . Medicaid eligibility (for Virginians under 65) is based on monthly income and household size, and the following do not count as income: COVID-19 stimulus checks, additional federal unemployment ( $600/week ), or home, land, or retirement savings. If you do not already provide application assistance for your patients, visit Cover Virginia to learn more or locate an application assister near you , or take the online, on-demand Sign Up Now workshop on the VHCF website to learn how to help your patients apply.

Many families not eligible for Medicaid may be eligible for financial assistance from the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. While the 2020 Open Enrollment period for the Marketplace does not start until November, these Virginians may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, which would allow them to apply for coverage now. To qualify, they must apply within 60 days of job loss. For additional Special Enrollment Period qualifications, go to the Marketplace page on this website or visit www.healthcare.gov .
Reaching Patients in Need with No Touch Outreach
During this time when so many Virginians have recently lost employment and/or health care, Medication Assistance Program (MAP) services are invaluable. In an effort to reach those who may need assistance during this time, marketing materials have been provided that can be modified for each organization. Please let us know if you need assistance with updating your contact information using the sample PDF templates provided.

To learn more strategies to assist you in reaching those in need of MAP services, please join us on the next monthly technical support call on Wednesday, July 15th at 10:00am!  No registration required. Check your email that week for login details.
Opportunity to Purchase Low-Cost Full Face Shields, Cloth Face Masks, and Nebulizers
In response to COVID-19, Global Links, a Pittsburgh-based humanitarian aid organization, is supporting the healthcare safety net, prioritizing front-line healthcare workers by providing needed medical supplies at a reduced cost to help keep patients safe. All product costs include shipping and can be requested online here . Once a form has been submitted, Global Links will contact you within 3-5 business days regarding inventory availability and payment processing, and will confirm shipment arrangements within 2 business days. Please feel free to share this resource with other health safety net organizations who may be looking to access these products. Questions about the program can be directed to c ommunitypartners@globallinks.org .

Cloth Emergency Face Masks (adult size available)
  • $2.50/unit 
  • Must be ordered in multiples of 25
  • Minimum order - 25 masks

Full Face Shields 
  • $5.25/unit or $131.25/box of 25
  • Must be ordered in multiples of 25 
  • Minimum order - 1 box/25 shields

Nebulizers (available to clinics or agencies with a prescriber)*
  • $15.00/unit or $75.00/box of 5 units
  • Minimum order - 1 box/5 nebulizers
  • Maximum order - 6 boxes/30 nebulizers

* For organizations using TPC, Nebulizers can continue to be requested for patients using the individual order form in TPC.
Frontline Wellness Website Launched

Workers on the frontline of COVID-19 are particularly vulnerable to negative mental health effects as they try to balance caring for their patients and taking care of themselves and their families. Many are especially susceptible to feelings of stress and anxiety, given the risk associated with treating patients during COVID-19. To help address these stresses, a special website www.frontlinewellnessva.org has been developed. It was been designed to bring relief, comfort, and perspective to those at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. The website offers multiple wellness resources, self-care practices and recommendations, and a space to share and read personal testimonies. All healthcare workers, from administrative leadership to clinical staff, to other staff like medication assistance caseworkers, enrollment assisters, security, and housekeeping, are invited to visit the website and encouraged to share their stories.

We ask that you share information about this site with your staff and colleagues, as well as in your own newsletters. To help spread the word about this new resource, a communications toolkit has been developed with tips and language you can use. Access it here .
Upcoming TPC Trainings
Sign up for a TPC training session if you are new to your organization and need to learn the basics. If you currently use TPC and are looking to refresh your skills or want to learn about additional advanced features, sign up for Advanced Training.

Beginner Training

Advanced Training

Please check back for additions to the schedule and register today!
Check out some of the most frequently asked technical support Q & A!