LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Health Net LLC announced it will provide $5.9 million in immediate assistance to support Medi-Cal providers impacted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Health Net’s investment will enable the expansion of telehealth capacity and capability at California safety net clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), and independent provider practices serving the state’s most vulnerable patient population and facing increased challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Medi-Cal providers have been significantly impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 across the state,” said Brian Ternan, CEO of Health Net. “The ability to interact over the phone or through video not only protects vulnerable patients from face to face interaction, but also ensures that we’re keeping our frontline providers safe and healthy during these extraordinary times,” he said. “We are grateful for the continued partnership with the state to help protect the delivery system for our most vulnerable population.”
Telehealth practices include live video visits, e-consultations and tele-psychiatry, which are all key tools in providing safe access and continuity of care for patients at home. This approach minimizes disruption of the health care system and helps protect providers and patients at a time when social distancing is critical to observe.
Health Net requested to use funding set aside for improving enrollee health outcomes under the California Department of Managed Health Care’s (DMHC) approval of Centene’s acquisition of Health Net in 2016.
“We are working together to protect the health and safety of Californians and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said DMHC Director Shelley Rouillard. “This includes making sure that Californians are able to access health care coverage through telehealth. This funding will help Medi-Cal providers quickly build their telehealth infrastructure, and make sure people can continue to safely access health care services.”
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, and the important role health centers play in serving communities across the state Health Net is making this funding for health centers available immediately.
“Our clinics are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding provided by Health Net will enable safety net providers to build out and leverage critical telehealth capabilities to better protect and serve our patients throughout the state,” says Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Primary Care Association . “This situation requires an all-hands-on-deck approach. We’re grateful to see plans like Health Net expedite this funding with the support of the Department.”
Grant Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for the COVID-19 Emergency Response Support, the applicant must apply by April 7, and be organized as one of the following:
- Federally Qualified Health Center, Rural Health Center, Indian Health Center, 330 Look Alike Health Center, or community clinic
- Independent Provider Practice with at least a 30% Medi-Cal patient mix and/or located in a Health Professional Shortage Area
- Safety Net Clinics and FQHCs operating in non-County Organized Health System (COHS) are eligible to apply
For a full list of eligibility requirements please visit http://healthnet.smartsimple.com
Grant Funding Scope
In response to COVID-19, Telehealth is now a service requirement, as such, many Medi-Cal providers may need assistance to meet this requirement. Grants under this program will be directed towards those providers who have limited and/or no telehealth infrastructure.
Health Net expects to award approximately 47 grants, with a maximum grant amount of $125,000 per award. Grant money may be used to cover the following:
Telehealth and Telephonic Infrastructure
- Hardware, such as laptops, land lines and cell phones
- Licensing and vendor fees for telehealth programs and/or apps
Staffing and Internet Services
- Technical Assistance
- Internet connectivity and/or browser set up
- Monthly service or coverage fees
Tele-psychiatry Infrastructure and Services
To increase prevention and intervention efforts for patients with mental health and/or substance use conditions
- Tele-psychiatry capability and capacity to sustain and/or expand access
- Support training and/or team-based mental health modalities