Emergency supplement benefits approved for SNAP recipients

March 27, 2020, News Mississippi, Steven Gagliano – In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has approved the issuance of emergency supplement benefits for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients for March and April 2020. The Mississippi Department of Human Services has released the following information related to the announcement. Click here to view the story.

Under Financial Strain, Community Health Centers Ramp Up Coronavirus Response

March 27, 2020, KHN, Will Stone – On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced $100 million in supplemental funding for community health centers to support the response to the coronavirus pandemic.“Health centers are playing a critical role,” said James Macrae, associate administrator at the federal Bureau of Primary Health Care. About 29 million people in the U.S. rely on community health centers, which provide care to low-income and uninsured patients. As hospitals take on more COVID-19 patients, community health centers are reworking how they care for patients. Some safety-net clinics have instituted new infectious disease protocols and temporarily shifted resources away from routine primary care. Click here to view the story.

Rural hospitals in Mississippi were already on a cliff. Coronavirus could push them over.

March 27, 2020, The Clarion Ledger, Giacomo Bologna – There is a small hospital in north Mississippi that bought 100 ponchos to prepare for the coronavirus. A hospital in central Mississippi got masks and isolation gowns through a poultry plant supplier. Groups of women have been sewing cloth masks for two hospitals in the Delta. Doctors and nurses have postponed non-essential procedures. Hospitals are rapidly adopting telemedicine. Officials are warning community members to stay away unless it’s an emergency. Staff members are converting rooms into makeshift ICU units. Meanwhile, revenue is plummeting — and this is just the beginning. Click here to view the story.

Could Obamacare save jobless Americans from coronavirus?

March 26, 2020, Politico, Susannah Luthi – A historic surge in jobless claims threatens to leave millions of Americans joining the ranks of the uninsured, an increasingly grim outlook in the country that’s emerging as the new global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. The moment is shaping up to be a clear test of Obamacare, on the same week the health care law turned 10 years old. The key question is whether the pandemic will drive the newly uninsured to the law’s health insurance marketplaces, proving the law’s value as a backstop, or if they’ll take their chances and forego coverage as the country braces for a possible recession. Click here to view the story.

Insurance coverage expanded for mental health teletherapy

March 25, 2020, The Clarion Ledger, Jimmie E. Gates – Mississippi largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, has expanded teletherapy coverage in the state to deal with COVID-19. “In response to the CDC and Mississippi State Department of Health guidance on necessary steps to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi expanded care access which includes coverage for medically necessary telemedicine visits to allow our members to visit their provider without leaving home,” Blue Cross said in a statement. BCBS said its new COVID-19 telemedicine coverage was developed with network providers in early March and was further refined to pay for up to an hour session for teletherapy. BCBS said it will continue to review its coverage. Click here to view the story.

© 2016 Mississippi Health Advocacy Program