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FEMA has increased reimbursements during coronavirus pandemic

FEMA has increased reimbursements during coronavirus pandemic

On March 13, 2020 the US president declared a national emergency for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Following this, the  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has urged officials to take action to protect public health and safety. In accordance with the  Stafford Act, FEMA will reimburse 75% of the cost of “emergency protective measures” under Category B of FEMA’s  Public Assistance Program and Policy GuideThirty-nine states and territories so far have requested FEMA to fully reimburse expenses for medical supplies, testing and other services. The Trump administration has also indicated that states could use money from Cares Act funding to cover the 25% gap in coronavirus costs from FEMA.


What costs are reimbursable

As explained in FEMA's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Eligible Emergency Protective Measures fact sheet, FEMA may provide assistance for emergency protective measures including, but not limited to, the following:
  • Actions taken to manage, reduce, or control threats to public health and safety
  • Emergency medical care
  • Search and rescue
  • Medical sheltering (e.g. when facilities become overloaded)
  • Overtime costs
  • Purchase and distribution of food, personal protective equipment and other consumable supplies
  • Security and law enforcement
  • Communications of general health and safety information to the public
FEMA will not duplicate assistance provided by the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or other federal agencies.


Who is eligible 

State, territorial, tribal, and local government entities are eligible to apply for  public assistance. In addition, nonprofits that offer services to the general public can qualify, including ambulance companies, emergency services, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, home care services, and drug rehabilitation programs.


How to apply 

As explained in FEMA's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Public Assistance Simplified Application fact sheet, eligible applicants must apply for assistance through FEMA's public assistance grants portal. Here applicants will explain work activities, answer basic questions, and provide supporting documentation and a cost estimate. FEMA will review this information and follow up with any requests for additional information if necessary. For help navigating the grants portal, FEMA has published some how-to videos.


Paubox Marketing may be reimbursable under FEMA

We have heard from a number of our customers that they are using Paubox to communicate with patients during this difficult time.  Communication regarding health and safety is one of the provisions that is reimbursable under the coronavirus emergency declaration.

FREE WHITE PAPER: Secure Communication During COVID-19 Pandemic

The most powerful way to communicate with your patients at scale is via mass emails, i.e. marketing emails. However, HIPAA remains in effect even during a global health crisis, although they have updated some key provisions to make it easier for medical providers to provide effective care and reduce the spread of the virus.

SEE ALSO: OCR Issues Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Business Associates in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

SEE ALSO: OCR Waives HIPAA Penalties for COVID-19 Testing

Most standard email marketing solutions are not HIPAA compliant, but you can still use them to send general information that applies to everyone. The downside is that recipients may ignore advice which is not targeted to them, and you cannot include protected health information (PHI) to explain an individual's risk factors. On the other hand with  Paubox Marketing you can send tailored recommendations to your patients based on their ages, if they are pregnant, their underlying health conditions, or any other criteria that helps you give specific information rather than generic advice which may not be as impactful.

SEE ALSO: Why Paubox Marketing is the Best HIPAA Email Marketing Solution Available And if the CDC’s  recommended precautions change, you can immediately let patients know how it affects them based on their segment. With Paubox Marketing, your patients will receive your personally tailored coronavirus recommendations directly to their inboxes.  They do not have to log into a clunky patient portal with a one-time passcode, which creates friction and drastically decreases the likelihood that they will read your email. In addition, Paubox will sign a business associate agreement (BAA) with you, and the solution is HITRUST CSF certified. In times of emergency, being able to communicate with your patients about their best options is critical. Secure patient outreach with Paubox Marketing can help you keep your patients safe and improve their health outcomes. And if you're a nonprofit healthcare organization eligible for FEMA reimbursement, the cost to use the solution can be reimbursed up to 75%.


Try Paubox Marketing for free and make your email marketing HIPAA compliant today.

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