Policy Update 3/22/22

By Cassidy Heit posted 03-23-2022 14:39


Oklahoma's Congressional Delegation Meets with Health Center Leaders

Leaders from Oklahoma community health centers met last week with members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation and their staff. Senator Lankford, Congressman Hern, and Congressman Mullin joined virtual meetings to discuss health center funding, 340B, telehealth, and more.

Senator Lankford published a press release last week detailing his conversation with Oklahoma community health center leadership, writing, “Oklahoma’s community health centers remain a vital part of our health care system, particularly in rural and underserved areas of the state. Throughout the pandemic they stood strong to bring quality care to our neighborhoods. I appreciate today’s opportunity to hear more about the issues they’re facing and how we can work together to ensure our health care system works for the Oklahoma patients they serve."

He continued, "COVID-19 has taught us the potential for expanding care through responsible telehealth and health innovation to serve patients even when they aren’t able to go to their doctor’s office for every visit. It has also highlighted the need to keep training health professionals and ensuring they’re accessible where they’re needed most in our state and nation. I look forward to our ongoing dialogue about how to serve community health centers and empower them to keep our families healthy across the state.”

Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of community health centers!

SoonerCare Provider Town Hall

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority would like your feedback on the Comprehensive Quality Strategy, which aims to make health care services better for your patients and community. The town hall will be held at the Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center on Thursday, April 14 from 8 AM to 4 PM (lunch provided). Discussion topics include social determinants of health, decreasing obesity, decreasing smoking, and teen pregnancy. Click here to register to attend.

Committee Approves Bill Permanently Extending FTCA Volunteer Coverage

The PREVENT Pandemics Act passed the Senate HELP Committee on March 15 by a 20-2 vote. This bill includes a permanent extension of FTCA Coverage for Health Center Volunteer Health Professionals.

CMS Vaccine Mandate Enters Full Enforcement Phase

Health care providers in “Group Two” states (which includes Oklahoma) are expected to be in full compliance with the CMS COVID-19 vaccine mandate. For health centers, full compliance means that:
  • Appropriate Policies and Procedures have been developed and implemented.
  • 100% of “staff” (meaning all persons to whom the vaccine mandate applies, which includes volunteers, board members, etc.) have either:
    • Completed their “vaccine series” (meaning 2 Pfizer or Moderna, or one J&J); note that while boosters are strongly encouraged, they are NOT required.
    • Been approved for an exemption or delay.
For more information on the CMS vaccine mandate in general, see the 1/14/22 CMS guidance and the CMS vaccine mandate toolkit.

Provider Relief Fund Deadline - March 31

The Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Reporting Portal will close for Reporting Period 2 on Thursday, March 31. Providers who received one or more PRF payments exceeding $10,000, in the aggregate, during the second Payment Received Period must report on their use of funds no later than that date. To get started they must register in the Portal (if not yet completed). More information and resources can be found on the PRF Reporting webpage.


OHCA Asks Providers to Help Prepare for End of PHE

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) is encouraging SoonerCare beneficiaries to log into their accounts online to update information to avoid losing coverage when the public health emergency (PHE) expires.

During the PHE, Medicaid agencies have not been allowed to terminate coverage, but since PHE has been in effect, over 175,000 members have outstanding document requests. To help with those outstanding requests and avoid termination or a lapse in coverage, OHCA is encouraging members to:
  • ensure their login and password work.
    • If not, access account using a PIN.
    • If PIN is lost, call now for PIN reset. 
  • login to their accounts and update:
    • email addresses.
    • phone number.
    • income information.
    • address.
    • household information.
    • SSNs for babies born in the last 2 years.
    • any missing or outdated information.  
SoonerCare is also asking providers to help by updating patients' case information, renewing cases now instead of waiting for the renewal date, and encouraging members to access their online account. Some members may not have touched their case for 3-6 years due to passive renewal and PHE. This will help members avoid calling in at the same time and having a long wait period for PIN Reset. Their PIN number can also be found on the top right corner of any “DET letter.”