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WVPCA Weekly Outlook
A Newsletter on Community Centered Healthcare
June 25, 2021
In This Issue...
WVPCA News - Emergency Management News
Outreach and Enrollment News - State News - National News - Funding Opportunities - Upcoming Training Opportunities - What We're Reading
News Flash!
UC requiring students to get COVID-19 vaccine; WV public colleges still not requiring it
Read the entire article from Charleston Gazette Mail here.

In pandemic, drug overdose deaths soar among Black Americans
Read the entire article from APNews here.

Delta variant could become dominant strain in U.S. this summer, CDC head says
Read the entire article from The Washington Post here.
AZARA ACADEMY Webinar Series
Ready to take your Azara DRVS utilization to the next level? Want to learn more about maximizing the Azara tools for performance improvements? Need to refresh your knowledge of the basic concepts DRVS? If so, please join the West Virginia Primary Care Association (WVPCA) and Azara Healthcare for the exciting AZARA ACADEMY webinar series. During these ninety minute webinars, health centers will have the opportunity to learn more about Azara DRVS, digging deeper into functionality and tools. Azara DRVS experts will demonstrate how DRVS can be leveraged for value based initiatives, care management, efficient patient visit planning, quality improvement, and other important functions and uses.  

Each of the remaining webinars will have a separate registration (links included) for the upcoming sessions:

Here are just a few of the topics to be covered:
  • Leveraging clinical, payer and HIE data to improve your performance.
  • Exploring the continuum of care management tools to support population health and PCMH.
  • DRVS Patient Visit Planning Best Practices
  • Implementation of the Care Management Passport amongst the Care Team
  • Development and optimization of scorecards and dashboards
  • How to use DRVS to track patients with chronic conditions
  • Overview of Social Determinants of Health in DRVS  

Click below for details of the webinar series.

After attending these sessions health centers will have the opportunity to schedule their NO-COST ninety-minute WVPCA AZARA ACADEMY Learning Lab session hosted by an Azara Coach. The Learning Lab will offer hands on training to assist the health center in further exploring the topics covered in the DRVS Academy sessions within their own organization. Please contact the WVPCA for more details.

Target Audience: All levels of DRVS users including but not limited to: CHC Leadership, Clinical Managers, Quality and Care Management Staff, Nurses, IT/EHR Managers, Behavioral Health and School Based Health Directors.

This event is intended for Community Health Center Staff at no cost for participants.
10 Million Americans Enrolled in Coverage During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new Enrollment Trends Snapshot report showing a record high, over 80 million individuals have health coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Nearly 9.9 million individuals, a 13.9% increase, enrolled in coverage between February 2020, the month before the public health emergency (PHE) was declared, and January 2021.

Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a total of 80,543,351 people were enrolled and receiving full benefits from the Medicaid and CHIP programs by the end of January 2021. In the 50 states that reported total Medicaid child and CHIP enrollment data for January 2021, over 38.3 million children were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP combined, approximately 50% of the total Medicaid and CHIP enrollment. These numbers highlight the essential role the Medicaid and CHIP programs play in providing quality and needed coverage for millions of vulnerable children and adults. In fact, both programs serve as the largest single source of health coverage in the country.
Customizable COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Rural Communities
The HRSA-supported National Rural Health Resource Center, which helps rural community- and faith-based organizations, businesses, public health, schools, and health care organizations, has created a toolkit with internal and external COVID-19 vaccine communication materials. It provides easy access to customizable communication templates that include print ads, posters, brochures, social media posts, and an online resource guide.
Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine Expiration Date Update
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorized an extension of the shelf life for the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine from 3 to 4.5 months (an additional six weeks). The decision is based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies, which have demonstrated that the vaccine is stable at 4.5 months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit (2-8 degrees Celsius).

COVID-19 vaccines authorized under an Emergency Use Authorization do not have fixed expiration dates, and their expiration dates can be extended as more stability data emerges. Always be sure to check the manufacturer’s website to obtain the most up-to-date expiration dates for COVID-19 vaccines you have on hand.

Visit the Janssen Expiry Checker to confirm the latest expiration dates. The FDA extension applies to refrigerated vials of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine that have been held in accordance with the manufacturer’s storage conditions.
State News
WV Food for All
American Rescue Plan Act Webinar
Counties and municipalities in West Virginia will be receiving $677 million in the coming months through the American Rescue Plan Act. What could this mean for advancing Community Food Security across our state? Join our coalition partner the WVU Food Justice Lab as they present preliminary research about the American Rescue Plan Act and ways to build local advocacy networks to advance the Right to Healthy Food in the Mountain State. 

We realize at the time of this newsletter publication, that the first webinar offering has passed. Please register for the second webinar to learn more about food insecurity in West Virginia and how your organization can collaborate with other partners in your area to address food insecurity in the communities you serve.
2021 West Virginia Addiction Conference
Save the Date: October 28-29, 2021
Appalachian Addiction and Prescription Drug Abuse Conference:
Pain and Addiction Best Practices and Proper Prescribing
2-Day Virtual Event!
National News
Black and Hispanic Americans Suffer Most in Biggest US Decline in Life Expectancy Since WWII
With coronavirus infections falling in the U.S., many people are eager to put the pandemic behind them. But it has inflicted wounds that won’t easily heal. In addition to killing 600,000 in the United States and afflicting an estimated 3.4 million or more with persistent symptoms, the pandemic threatens the health of vulnerable people devastated by the loss of jobs, homes and opportunities for the future. It will, almost certainly, cast a long shadow on American health, leading millions of people to live sicker and die younger due to increasing rates of poverty, hunger and housing insecurity.

In particular, it will exacerbate the discrepancies already seen in the country between the wealth and health of Black and Hispanic Americans and those of white Americans. Indeed, new research published Wednesday in the BMJ shows just how wide that gap has grown. Life expectancy across the country plummeted by nearly two years from 2018 to 2020, the largest decline since 1943, when American troops were dying in World War II, according to the study. But while white Americans lost 1.36 years, Black Americans lost 3.25 years and Hispanic Americans lost 3.88 years. Given that life expectancy typically varies only by a month or two from year to year, losses of this magnitude are “pretty catastrophic,” said Dr. Steven Woolf, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and lead author of the study.

Over the two years included in the study, the average loss of life expectancy in the U.S. was nearly nine times greater than the average in 16 other developed nations, whose residents can now expect to live 4.7 years longer than Americans. Compared with their peers in other countries, Americans died not only in greater numbers but at younger ages during this time period.

The U.S. mortality rate spiked by nearly 23% in 2020, when there were roughly 522,000 more deaths than expected. Not all of these deaths were directly attributable to COVID-19. Fatal heart attacks and strokes both increased in 2020, at least partly fueled by delayed treatment or lack of access to medical care, Woolf says. More than 40% of Americans put off treatment during the early months of the pandemic, when hospitals were stretched thin and going into a medical facility seemed risky. Without prompt medical attention, heart attacks can cause congestive heart failure; delaying treatment of strokes raises the risk of long-term disability.
Community Health Centers Give 10M Vax Doses, 61% for Health Equity
Community health centers (CHCs) continue to prove instrumental in the nation’s plight for vaccine health equity and herd immunity, with the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recently announcing CHCs have administered 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, 61 percent of which went to racial and ethnic minorities.

“Our nation’s health centers have played an essential role in achieving the vaccination goals President Biden has set for this country,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the statement.

HHS noted the community health centers included in its figures were funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an HHS sister agency that previously announced funding to community health centers to help support vaccine distribution and health equity.

HRSA’s support, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), allocated COVID-19 shots to CHCs. Those CHCs also had access to doses provided by their respective states. The program launched in February with just 25 pilot sites and expanded by April 6 to just under 1,500 CHCs and Health Center Program look-alikes (LALs).

HHS, HRSA, and CDC tapped community health centers particularly because of the patient populations they traditionally treat. Initial surveying showed that low-income people and communities of color could harbor some vaccine hesitancy, and in the industry’s effort for health equity experts knew tapping community health partners would be key.
Creating an Inclusive Healthcare Environment
As people from across the United States continue to celebrate PRIDE month, it is time to discuss how community health centers can develop a healthcare environment that is inclusive to the LGBTQ community throughout the year. Below are 10 important points to consider when developing your health center’s plan to becoming a more inclusive and diverse place to serve your communities:

  1. The Board and Senior Management are actively engaged in building an LGBTQ-inclusive environment. Leadership can set a tone and build inclusiveness as part of a commitment to equitable care for all.
  2. Make sure your health center’s policies reflect the needs of LGBTQ people. Health centers should have patient and employee non-discrimination policies.
  3. Plan outreach efforts that engage LGBTQ people in your community. Effective outreach requires understanding the diversity of the LGBTQ community and how to reach them. Goals of outreach can be to help people sign up for the ACA, and to engage them in care.
  4. All staff should receive training on Culturally Affirming Care for LGBTQ people. The Fenway Institute is a great resource for training.
  5. Health center processes and forms should reflect the diversity of LGBTQ people and their relationships. Forms should avoid gender-specific terms, such as asking about husband/wife or mother/father, and should ask about relationships, partners, and parents.
  6. Ensure that data is collected on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) of all patients. We cannot measure quality of care, progress on eliminating LGBTQ disparities without doing so.
  7. Ensure that all appropriate age patients receive a routine sexual health history. Taking a routine sexual health history should be a part of the comprehensive health history for all adults and adolescents.
  8. Your health center’s clinical care and services should incorporate LGBTQ health care needs. Overcoming disparities in the LGBTQ community require deliberate programs to lower barriers to care and offer unique services.
  9. Ensure the physical environment of your health center welcomes and includes LGBTQ people. Do educational and marketing materials include images of LGBTQ people? 
  10. Recruit and retainLGBTQ staff are recruited and retained. Having openly LGBTQ staff can help build the foundation for a respectful, inclusive health care environment.

If you need assistance with workflow redesign to collect SOGI data, please contact Emma White RN, PCMH CCE, Clinical Quality Improvement Coordinator, at emma.white@wvpca.org.
Funding and Financial Opportunities
HRSA Announces $50 Million in Funding to Optimize Use of Virtual Care in Health Centers
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced the availability of up to $50 million for HRSA-funded health centers to further efforts to advance virtual care. This competitive, one-time funding opportunity will support health centers in optimizing the use of virtual care to increase access and improve clinical quality for medically underserved communities and vulnerable populations.

Application Due Date:
  • Tuesday, August 17, 5 p.m. ET in HRSA’s Electronic Handbooks (EHBs) 

Visit the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Optimizing Virtual Care technical assistance (TA) webpage for the Notice of Funding Opportunity, pre-recorded TA webinar, and other resources.
Upcoming Training Opportunities

Today with Macrae: Health Center Program Updates 
Join Jim to hear the latest information on funding, the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program, and more.

Thursday, July 8, 2021
3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

Thursday, August 19, 2021
3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

Thursday, September 9, 2021
3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

The Evolution of LGBTQ Care: The History of Health Centers' Impact on LGBTQ Health 
Health centers have driven monumental change in LGBTQ medical and behavioral health care guidelines, provider and staff training, policy and advocacy, and research, including the standardized collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data to identify and address inequities. The LGBTQ community has faced a myriad of concerns during COVID-19 from economic insecurity to lack of access to consistent medical and behavioral care, and like many, questions about the vaccines. NACHC recognizes the essential voices and resilience of the LGBTQ community and welcomes national advocates and leaders for a discussion on their organizations’ historic and continued efforts to assure quality, affordable, and accessible health care to all.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021
2:00 PM ET
Reducing Health Disparities by Addressing Integrated Behavioral Health in a Maternal Child Health Care Setting
COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated behavioral health disparities experienced by minority and vulnerable populations, including pregnant and post-partum women, their children, and families. 

This webinar explores the intersection of COVID-19, health disparities, and integrated behavioral health care within a maternal child health context. Presenter Sharon Morello brings over 25 years of experience working with pregnant women and new mothers experiencing mental health and substance use disorder challenges. She will discuss recent behavioral health data trends within this population, outline opportunities for providing behavioral health care within a health center setting, and offer integrated behavioral health care strategies to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for both mother and child.

Tuesday, July 29, 2021
2:00 PM ET 
Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy among Direct Service Workers 
Vaccine uptake among direct service workers is particularly important, but this group experiences many barriers to vaccination, including culturally competent and accessible information, paid sick leave and/or time off, and transportation. Experts will discuss the demographics of the direct service workforce, barriers to vaccination, strategies to increase vaccine confidence and uptake, and promising practices. Hosted by the HHS Administration for Community Living and CMS.

Thursday, July 1, 2021
3:00 PM ET
Community Health Center Resources
Jackson Kelly attorneys provide limited consultation to all members of the WVPCA at no charge, as part of the WVPCA contract. There is no limit to the number of calls which any member may make. All inquiries within the scope of professional competence of firm attorneys will be addressed. Inquiries which require expertise not available through the firm will be promptly identified and, when requested, Jackson Kelly will assist in referring the matter to accounting firms, insurance agents, or others as circumstances warrant.

All inquiries, responses and consultation services provided by the firm lawyers will be provided without additional charge beyond the retainer amount, except for matters which require formal opinions, representation of record in litigation, transactional work, e.g. the purchase or sale of real property, or matters which require continued representation, research or consultation beyond a single inquiry or document review.

Justin M. Harrison is a labor & employment lawyer with Jackson Kelly PLLC. He is available for consultation through a special retainer relationship with the WVPCA. Justin can be reached at 304.340.1358 and via email at justin.harrison@jacksonkelly.com.
ECRI Institute
Pandemic Operational Recovery Guide
Operational disruptions to ambulatory care during and after a pandemic are significant. These disruptions may change many aspects of care delivery in ways that impact providers, staff, and patients alike.
Care may be temporarily limited or delivered in nontraditional ways, and recovery of operations may represent a "new normal."
The Pandemic Operational Recovery Guide for Health Centers and Free Clinics was written to assist health centers and free clinics in identifying and minimizing risks as they recover from operational disruptions related to a pandemic.
The handbook contains links to tools as well as links to additional resources for a more comprehensive discussion of individual topics. Readers can refer to descriptive "Strategy" headings in each section, and consult the recommendations, tools, and resources that follow for more detailed information. Although some tools and resources focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, they can be adapted to respond to other public health emergencies.
Risk Management Manual for Health Centers Now Available!
The Risk Management Manual for Health Centers is now available on the ECRI Institute Clinical Risk Management Program website! Designed to support a proactive approach to risk management at health centers and free clinics, the Manual provides background, tips, and how-tos in a manageable format.

Specific areas that are covered include:
Risk Management Programs & Plans
Claims and Lawsuits
Role of the Risk Manager
Patient Grievances and Complaints
Communication with Patients
Credentialing and Privileging
Communication among Providers, Staff, and Community Partners
Tracking Systems for Diagnostic Tests, Referrals, and Hospitalizations

View an archived webinar that provides a guided tour of the Manual and key features. For access to the ECRI Institute Clinical Risk Management Program website or any other questions, email clinical_rm_program@ecri.org.
Sherri Ferrell, MBA | Chief Executive Officer
Debra Boyd | Chief Financial/Chief Operations Officer
Staci Arnold, MBA | Data Service & Integration Specialist
Joshua Austin | Policy & Communications Director
Paula Beasley | Education & Communication Coordinator
Jennifer Boyd, PA-C, PCMH-CCE | Clinical Consultant
John Kennedy, MA | School-Based Health/Behavioral Health Coordinator
Pam Moore | Member Relations Coordinator
Shannon Parker, MBA, PCMH-CCE | Director of Health Center Operations
Ruby Piscopo | Outreach & Enrollment Coordinator
Amanda West | Staff Accountant
Emma White, RN, PCMH-CCE | Clinical Quality Improvement Coordinator
To sign up to receive the WVPCA Weekly Newsletter:
1700 MacCorkle Avenue, SE
Charleston, WV 25314
Phone: 304.346.0032
Toll Free: 1.877.WVA HLTH
This project is/was supported partially/fully by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U58CS06834 State and Regional Primary Care Associations. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.