“Change occurs when excuses pivot to execution,” said Ryan Lilly, author on economic development and entrepreneurship. And every day this week, I have been impressed with the many ‘pivots’ executives in the field are making.
Many have moved their office to their kitchen tables and are sharing space with children attending school on Zoom. Others who have given up on commercial supplies of personal protective equipment like masks are turning to their communities for homemade options. Those who are not able to get the emergency funding from federal loans and grants are talking to their bankers and negotiating with their payers for better rates and advances to keep the cash inflows up.
But perhaps the biggest pivot is from face to face services to virtual for nearly all consumers to the extent possible. And, we learned how two organizations—Kolmac Outpatient Recovery and MindPath Care Centers—made this pivot in a big way, in short order. In our web briefing earlier this week, Developing The Consumer & Staff Training & Guidelines Needed To Expand Your Telehealth Services Quickly, OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Deb Adler helped us understand how these two organizations succeeded.
This week, we’ve put together more information on the current emergency situation and resources to help you make that pivot for your organization.
The Latest In Funding & Grants
On April 1, 2020, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced they are accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2020 Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders During COVID-19 (Emergency COVID-19). SAMHSA recognizes there are currently 57.8 million Americans living with mental and/or addiction disorders.
The Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt a $200 million telehealth program to support health care provider organizations responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Congress appropriated the funds as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, the FCC will help health care provider organizations purchase telecommunications, broadband connectivity, and devices necessary for providing telehealth services.
The National Council for Behavioral Health, along with more than 40 other national organizations addressing mental illness and addiction, have requested a $38.5 billion infusion of emergency funds for community behavioral health organizations (CBHOs) to avert a large-scale public health calamity. A significant portion of these emergency funds would be dedicated to CBHOs enrolled in Medicaid and serving some of the nation’s most vulnerable individuals.
Changes In Care Delivery
To give consumers continued access to primary and specialty care while slowing the spread of COVID-19, Geisinger has expanded its telehealth services to include primary care and more than 70 specialties. Telemedicine video visits allow consumers to speak with health care professionals in real time using video chat technology on a secure network.
Greenville County Schools in South Carolina plans to begin offering online speech, occupational, and physical therapy for students with special needs towards the end of April. According to Traci Hogan, assistant superintendent for special education services with Greenville County Schools, shifting schools to online learning and paper packets at home is not ideal and has been a difficult adjustment.
Express Scripts is supporting members through the COVID-19 pandemic by working with SilverCloud Health to make their digital mental health platform available to clients and their members at no cost. According to Glen Stettin, M.D., chief innovation officer of Express Scripts, the organization realizes the emotional and physical toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, and during this time of self-quarantine and social distancing, these digital health tools can help people think and feel better.
On March 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education said it would grant waivers to states unable assess student educational progress because schools were closed due to the coronavirus public health emergency. The waivers provide relief from federally mandated testing requirements for this school year.
Expanding Access To Testing
A study led by UnitedHealth Group Research & Development and OptumCare clinicians has demonstrated that a simple, self-collected test is as effective in identifying COVID-19 infections as the current clinician-collected test. Widespread adoption of this less invasive test will reduce exposure for health care workers and improve overall testing efficiency across the country.
Google and Apple are announcing a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design. Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health officials have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread.
On April 7, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it authorized an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a serological test that is intended for use by clinical laboratories to test for antibodies to COVID-19. The FDA authorized the first EUA for a COVID-19 rapid antibody blood test from Cellex.
On April 7, 2020, a coalition of the nation’s leading mental health advocacy groups, health care insurance companies, and the Department of Veterans Affairs announced the launch of the COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub. The Resource Hub offers a package of free digital resources to help individuals and health care professionals address mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced the launch the NYC COVID Congregate Care Staffing Portal. To keep services operational and clients safe, programs are increasingly reliant on relief staffing provided by health care staffing companies. New York City community-based behavioral health provider organizations are having increasing challenges maintaining essential congregate care services to New Yorkers with behavioral health needs and developmental/intellectual disabilities during the COIVD-19 pandemic.
On March 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education published a fact sheet discussing the potential implications of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on State assessment and accountability systems. This fact sheet also addresses other considerations regarding the use of Federal funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA).
To ensure your future organizational sustainability and success… the time to act is right now. Join us on April 21, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. ET to learn and discuss the critical steps your organization should be taking at this special collaborative webinar from OPEN MINDS, The National Council for Behavioral Health, Pyramid Healthcare, and Qualifacts.
For even more on ensuring your organization can keep pace with the changing landscape, learn about our new program—The OPEN MINDS Executive Blueprint For Crisis Management – Building Organizational Sustainability & Success In A Disrupted Health & Human Service Market—available to our Elite-level OPEN MINDS Circle subscribers to help you navigate the strategic, operational, and culture changes of a market in turbulence. Don’t miss the upcoming live web briefings next in the series:
- April 23, 2020 | 1:00 PM EDT – Going “Virtual Service” – Reaching Consumers Where They Are At With Telehealth & More – An Overview – LEARN MORE & REGISTER
- April 30, 2020 | 1:00 PM EDT – Going “Virtual Revenue Generation’ – Assuring Consumers & Referral Sources Can Find You – An Overview – LEARN MORE & REGISTER