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Funding to support tribal response

Money geared to hospitals, other sites

MARQUETTE — The Department of Health and Human Services is delivering nearly $11 million from the Provider Relief Fund to support the tribal response to COVID-19 in Michigan.

Nationally, $500 million in payments from the Provider Relief Fund went to the Indian Health Service and tribal hospitals, clinics and urban health centers.

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted IHS providers and programs. Many such providers have experienced significantly increased need for personal protective equipment as well as increased labor costs due to employees that have been exposed to COVID-19.

At least 233 facilities across the Indian health system serve as the only health care provider for both IHS and non-IHS beneficiaries, making them critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and reopening America.

“The Trump Administration is making a targeted allocation from the funds Congress provided to send $500 million to Indian health care facilities,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a news release. “Combined with other funding, supplies and flexibility around telehealth, we are working with tribal governments to do everything we can to support heroic Indian health care workers and protect Indian Country from COVID-19.”

The distribution methodology for the $10,866,010 is as follows:

≤ IHS and tribal hospitals will receive a $2.81 million base payment plus 3% of their total operating expenses;

≤ IHS and tribal clinics and programs will receive a $187,000 base payment plus 5% of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user; and

≤ IHS urban programs will receive a $181,000 base payment plus 6% of the estimated service population multiplied by the average cost per user.

HHS has allocated approximately 4% of available funding for urban Indian health programs, consistent with the percent of patients served by urban Indian organizations in relation to the total IHS active user population, as well as prior allocations of IHS COVID-19 funding. The remaining funding will be divided equally between hospitals and clinics.

Nessel supports bills

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is stating her support for several bills that were recently introduced in the Michigan Legislature aimed at improving workplace safety.

Sens. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit; Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield; Sylvia Santana, D-Detroit; Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids; and Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo, last week introduced bills in the Legislature aimed at protecting workers and public health as Michigan begins to reopen its economy. Similar bills were introduced in the House by Democratic representatives.

“This pandemic has strained Michigan’s economy, and we all understand the significance of re-engaging our workforce and the important role those hard-working employees play for the financial health of our state,” Nessel said in a news release. “But we must make certain that as we reopen our economy, we do so in a way that maintains protections for employees and ensures Michigan’s economic recovery from this public health emergency is not unnecessarily prolonged.”

The bills include:

≤ Senate Bill 928 (McCann): Presumes essential workers who test positive for COVID-19, without knowing their time of infection, contracted the virus during their employment and are therefore eligible for workers’ compensation benefits;

≤ Senate Bill 929 (Chang): Encourages collaboration among the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other state regulatory agencies to create general industry standards to mitigate COVID-19 exposure in the workplace and increases MIOSHA fines and penalties to strengthen accountability;

≤ Senate Bill 930 (Santana): Protects employees from adverse action if they report unsafe work conditions to MIOSHA;

≤ Senate Bill 931 (Moss): Protects employees from adverse action if they are unable to come into work for a number of reasons related to COVID-19; and

≤ Senate Bill 932 (Brinks): Requires employers to obtain, publicly post and make readily available to employees a list of testing sites from their local public health department.

Online workplace safety site launched

MIOSHA, within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, launched a new online COVID-19 workplace safety site — Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety — that provides guidance and a tool kit of resources to keep workplaces safe as sectors of the state’s economy reopen.

The site includes MIOSHA-issued guidelines, posters for employees and customers, fact sheets, educational videos and a reopening checklist, all of which will help businesses safely reopen their doors.

Guidance updated

As businesses across the Upper Peninsula continue to adapt toward reopening and recovery, update906.com will adapt as well. Visitors will find a new homepage featuring materials to help guide business owners through reopening.

They include materials relating to making a plan, industry-specific guidelines, social distancing, protecting employees, human resources and legalities. Templates and printable materials also are available.

App available

The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services and Labor and Economic Opportunity have collaborated with the University of Michigan School of Public Health and College of Engineering to create the MI Symptoms Web Application.

Designed primarily for employers and employees, the online tool is also available to all Michigan residents. Users enter information daily to help identify symptoms that might be caused by the virus and to make decisions about when to seek appropriate medical care. Local and state public health will also use the collective data to help identify the potential for new outbreaks of the disease.

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