COVID Relief Funds

What is the impact of losing so many?

As of last week, there have been approximately 1,028,000 COVID deaths in the United States. To offer perspective, that is more people than the entire state populations of Wyoming, Vermont, the District of Columbia, Alaska, both Dakotas, or Delaware. 

Could you imagine the impact if our country essentially lost the entire population of one state?

The significance of this overwhelms me as I hop on a plane to travel and see so many people now operating as though it’s business as usual. I too would love to return to normal, and have even had my fair share of laissez-faire approaches to COVID lately. Although last week I was starkly reminded of the seriousness of the situation when my oldest child was sent home from school, sick with COVID.  

Just over a year ago, the Biden Administration released $2.25 billion to the states to help with COVID health disparities. The funds were routed through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the form of grants to every state, with additional funding to large city and county health agencies. However, as reported last week by Kaiser Health News, only a small percentage of states have even started using their funds.

The information was startling, as the Biden Administration is now asking for additional funding for COVID relief, even as dollars seem to already be sitting dormant at the state level, not in use. Montana so far has spent some of their funds, although they have used slightly less than a quarter of their total eligible dollars. Missouri has not spent any of its $35.6 million. State officials reported that the slow release of funds to health departments, healthcare organizations, and community agencies has been due to administrative hurdles in the process to obtain and designate dollars to the appropriate entities in need. 

So, while state offices and health departments are trying to figure out how to spend their money, the reported cases (which we know are underreported, since home kits have no public reporting mechanism) are up 26 percent nationwide in the last couple of weeks. And about a third of all Americans are now living in an area with medium or high risk rates of COVID. Thank you Omicron and your subvariants! I would urge state agencies, as we continue in the rising tide of COVID and as we head towards the fall cold and flu season, please release the funds – we do not want another variant.  

I ask, are you seeing increases in COVID cases in your area? To look at the survey results of this week, please click here.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tiffany Ferguson, LMSW, CMAC, ACM

Tiffany Ferguson is CEO of Phoenix Medical Management, Inc., the care management company. Tiffany serves on the ACPA Observation Subcommittee. Tiffany is a contributor to RACmonitor, Case Management Monthly, and commentator for Finally Friday. After practicing as a hospital social worker, she went on to serve as Director of Case Management and quickly assumed responsibilities in system level leadership roles for Health and Care Management and c-level responsibility for a large employed medical group. Tiffany received her MSW at UCLA. She is a licensed social worker, ACM, and CMAC certified.

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

Please log in to your account to comment on this article.

Featured Webcasts

Leveraging the CERT: A New Coding and Billing Risk Assessment Plan

Leveraging the CERT: A New Coding and Billing Risk Assessment Plan

Frank Cohen shows you how to leverage the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing Program (CERT) to create your own internal coding and billing risk assessment plan, including granular identification of risk areas and prioritizing audit tasks and functions resulting in decreased claim submission errors, reduced risk of audit-related damages, and a smoother, more efficient reimbursement process from Medicare.

April 9, 2024
2024 Observation Services Billing: How to Get It Right

2024 Observation Services Billing: How to Get It Right

Dr. Ronald Hirsch presents an essential “A to Z” review of Observation, including proper use for Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and commercial payers. He addresses the correct use of Observation in medical patients and surgical patients, and how to deal with the billing of unnecessary Observation services, professional fee billing, and more.

March 21, 2024
Top-10 Compliance Risk Areas for Hospitals & Physicians in 2024: Get Ahead of Federal Audit Targets

Top-10 Compliance Risk Areas for Hospitals & Physicians in 2024: Get Ahead of Federal Audit Targets

Explore the top-10 federal audit targets for 2024 in our webcast, “Top-10 Compliance Risk Areas for Hospitals & Physicians in 2024: Get Ahead of Federal Audit Targets,” featuring Certified Compliance Officer Michael G. Calahan, PA, MBA. Gain insights and best practices to proactively address risks, enhance compliance, and ensure financial well-being for your healthcare facility or practice. Join us for a comprehensive guide to successfully navigating the federal audit landscape.

February 22, 2024
Mastering Healthcare Refunds: Navigating Compliance with Confidence

Mastering Healthcare Refunds: Navigating Compliance with Confidence

Join healthcare attorney David Glaser, as he debunks refund myths, clarifies compliance essentials, and empowers healthcare professionals to safeguard facility finances. Uncover the secrets behind when to refund and why it matters. Don’t miss this crucial insight into strategic refund management.

February 29, 2024
2024 SDoH Update: Navigating Coding and Screening Assessment

2024 SDoH Update: Navigating Coding and Screening Assessment

Dive deep into the world of Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) coding with our comprehensive webcast. Explore the latest OPPS codes for 2024, understand SDoH assessments, and discover effective strategies for integrating coding seamlessly into healthcare practices. Gain invaluable insights and practical knowledge to navigate the complexities of SDoH coding confidently. Join us to unlock the potential of coding in promoting holistic patient care.

May 22, 2024
2024 ICD-10-CM/PCS Coding Clinic Update Webcast Series

2024 ICD-10-CM/PCS Coding Clinic Update Webcast Series

HIM coding expert, Kay Piper, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, reviews the guidance and updates coders and CDIs on important information in each of the AHA’s 2024 ICD-10-CM/PCS Quarterly Coding Clinics in easy-to-access on-demand webcasts, available shortly after each official publication.

April 15, 2024

Trending News

Happy National Doctor’s Day! Learn how to get a complimentary webcast on ‘Decoding Social Admissions’ as a token of our heartfelt appreciation! Click here to learn more →

Happy World Health Day! Our exclusive webcast, ‘2024 SDoH Update: Navigating Coding and Screening Assessment,’  is just $99 for a limited time! Use code WorldHealth24 at checkout.

SPRING INTO SAVINGS! Get 21% OFF during our exclusive two-day sale starting 3/21/2024. Use SPRING24 at checkout to claim this offer. Click here to learn more →