New Grant Awards to Reduce Burnout Among Health Care Workforce

Earlier today, HHS announced $103 million going to 45 grantees. The initiative comprises two programs to promote mental health and well-being and reduce burnout among health care professionals and first responders; a third program will provide tailored training and technical assistance to the other grantees of this effort. The funding is a direct response to the depression, anxiety, and burnout experienced by health care workers during the pandemic.
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New Locator Tool for Accessing Monoclonal Antibody Treatment for COVID-19

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched an online locator for individuals seeking access to monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatment for COVID-19. “Monoclonal antibodies treatments are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. Monoclonal antibodies treatments are given to help treat patients with COVID-19”. Individuals can use the interactive map or search for locations that have received the various therapeutic treatments. This data is based on shipments reported by the distributor, and is not a guarantee of availability. Note: Patients should coordinate with their respective physician or care provider before contacting a location to receive treatment. A call center is available to answer questions and provide information related to monoclonal antibody therapeutic treatments at the following phone numbers: 1-877-332-6585 (English Language); 1-877-366-0310 (Spanish Language)
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HRSA Makes Awards for the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program (RRPD)

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $6.7 million to support the creation of new accredited and sustainable rural residency programs to expand the physician workforce in rural areas. The RRPD program is a multi-year collaborative initiative between HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) and Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW) to increase physician training opportunities in rural communities and focus on improving access to high quality health care providers. The incoming RRPD cohort will collaborate with the RRPD-Technical Assistance Center throughout the duration of their three-year grant. To learn more about the RRPD-TA center, please visit
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COVID-19 Vaccine Information for People Who Use Drugs

To help people who use(d) drugs make decisions about COVID-19 vaccination, RCORP grantees and their partners can use the flyers found via the links below.  In addition to the information that is important for everyone to know, these flyers speak about the increased risk of severe illness that people who use drugs face if they have COVID and includes a worksheet to help people plan to receive their vaccination.   Some of the most important sources of COVID-related health information for people are their medical and social service providers.  These flyers cannot replace those relationships, but we hope they can help.  The flyers are in English and Spanish (the English translation of the Spanish flyer is also available for use).   While anyone can print these flyers as they are and they were informally tested with people who use drugs to be sure they were useful, RCORP grantees can also edit the text to be sure it speaks to specific communities.  Instructions about how to edit a PDF can be found via the link below. The resources below also include messages that may be added to a flyer and speak to other groups that are disproportionately affected by COVID.
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Getting Started with Medication-assisted Treatment: With lessons from Advancing Recovery

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, combined with counseling, to treat substance use disorders. Research has proven the effectiveness of MAT and addiction treatment experts endorse it, but a variety of barriers have prevented the widespread use of MAT. These include a lack of financing for medication, insufficient organizational infrastructure to deliver medication, state and county funding and regulatory obstacles, physician training and certification, staff and client resistance, and community attitudes.
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HHS Adds Categories of Those Allowed to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine

On February 2, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued an amendment to the emergency Declaration made last March in response to COVID-19. The amendment allows additional categories of health care professionals – including physicians, registered nurses, and practical nurses with recently expired licenses – to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
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I don’t even want to go to the doctor when I get sick now: Healthcare experiences and discrimination reported by people who use drugs, Arizona 2019

People who use drugs (PWUD) in the U.S. experience disproportionate adverse health outcomes and mortality as compared with the population as a whole (Lake & Kennedy, 2016; Reisinger, Pratt, Shoenborn, & Druss, 2017). Similar health outcomes have been reported elsewhere, for example in the UK (Neale, 2004), and across 8 other European countries (Bargagli et al., 2006). In the U.S. health outcomes among PWUD are intensified by the overdose pandemic, epidemic rates of HIV, hepatitis A and C, skin and soft tissue infections (CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020; Hagen, Thiede, & Des Jarlais, 2005; Scholl, Seth, Kariisa, Wilson, & Baldwin, 2019), and by structural barriers thwarting health access and utilization.
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CDC Updates on the Coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides daily updates on the Coronavirus with guidance for health providers and local public health officials.: results from a multisite study of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network
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CY 2021 Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Changes to Part B Payment Policies

This major final rule addresses: Changes to the physician fee schedule (PFS); other changes to Medicare Part B payment policies to ensure that payment systems are updated to reflect changes in medical practice, relative value of services, and changes in the statute; Medicare Shared Savings Program requirements; Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program requirements for Eligible Professionals; updates to the Quality Payment Program; Medicare coverage of opioid use disorder services furnished by opioid treatment programs; Medicare enrollment of Opioid Treatment Programs; payment for office/outpatient evaluation and management services & more.
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