Covid-19

Funding for One-time Direct Care Retention Payments

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provided funding to enhance, expand or strengthen HCBS beyond what was available under states’ Medicaid programs as of April 1, 2021. The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ (SCDHHS) ongoing evaluation of HCBS demonstrates that additional support is warranted to maintain an adequate direct care provider network. Nationally, health care providers are experiencing a shortage of direct care workers and this shortage is impacting each of South Carolina’s Medicaid HCBS programs.

Update to Case Management Policies for HCBS Waiver Providers, Assistance in Maintaining Updated Member Contact Information

During the initial response to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) announced temporary policy changes designed to ensure ongoing access to care for Healthy Connections Medicaid members enrolled in HCBS waiver programs and Healthy Connections Prime.

COVID-19 Temporary Policy Updates: Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation and Paid Feeding Assistant Programs

During the initial response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) announced dozens of temporary policy changes designed to ensure ongoing access to care for Healthy Connections Medicaid members. The majority of these policy changes were issued using emergency authorities derived from the federal public health emergency (PHE) and were issued for the duration of the PHE. 

SCDHHS Announces Updates to Critical Telehealth Flexibilities to Continue Access to Care for Healthy Connections Medicaid Members

COLUMBIA, SC -The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) today announced the extension of most of the temporary telehealth flexibilities it created during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) federal public health emergency (PHE). During the first seven weeks of the federal PHE, SCDHHS issued approximately two years’ worth of policy changes. These policy changes included a heavy emphasis on building upon the state’s existing telehealth benefit.

Update on Telehealth Flexibilities Issued During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

*October 4, 2022 Update: SCDHHS is updating its guidance on occupational therapy previously published in Medicaid bulletin 22-005. SCDHHS will now extend the flexibility for occupational therapy services for one year after the expiration of the current federal PHE for further evaluation. For more information on this update, please refer to Medicaid bulletin 22-016.

Approval of South Carolina’s Appendix K Amendment Request for Temporary Rate Increases

As part of the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ (SCDHHS) ongoing response to the state and federal states of emergency related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), SCDHHS submitted a request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to amend multiple waivers with the Emergency Preparedness and Response Appendix K. The request was approved Jan. 20, 2022, and will temporarily:

Pharmacy Coverage of Over-the-Counter Diagnostic Antigen Tests for COVID-19

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) will reimburse for Food and Drug Administration-approved coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) over-the-counter (OTC) tests for home use. SCDHHS will reimburse SCDHHS-enrolled pharmacy providers for these tests as authorized within sections 9811 and 9821 of the American Rescue Plan Act, and further delineated within the August 30, 2021, letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (SHO# 21-003).   

Update to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccine Administration Coverage to include Pediatric Coverage, Updated Booster Eligibility

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently updated its recommendations regarding who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to include children ages 5-11 years. The CDC has also updated its recommendations on who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) will reimburse enrolled providers for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, including additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine consistent with the CDC’s guidance.

Additional Medicaid Provider Relief Funding Available from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is distributing an additional $25.5 billion in provider relief funds (PRF Phase 4) to eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers who participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs, including the South Carolina Healthy Connections Medicaid program.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Third Dose of Vaccine Administration Coverage

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) will reimburse for the administration of additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine consistent with the updated emergency use authorization issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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