Consistent with the California SMARTER Plan, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is launching the “COVID-19 Test to Treat Equity” grant program to improve access to COVID-19 therapeutics in communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and with the greatest barriers to care.
- Increase the number of safety net providers that provide access to COVID-19 therapeutics for eligible patients within 48 hours of patient presenting to care.
- Increase utilization of COVID-19 therapeutics by communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- Strengthen multi-sector partnerships between safety-net health care providers and community-based partners that test for COVID-19 (e.g., CBOs, FBOs, shelters, assisted living, etc.) to increase access points to treatment.
- Create a “Test to Treat Learning Community” where best practices are shared, challenges are jointly worked on, and partnerships and coordination are strengthened across programs.
- Leverage solutions to strengthen the safety-net systems beyond COVID-19 care such as offering other timely assessments or chronic care interventions at points of care.
- Reduce morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 especially among communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
The grant funds and accompanying technical assistance will support safety net providers to develop workflows, processes, and communications to expedite each step of COVID-19 care delivery regardless of where the care occurs – in the home, at a clinic/pharmacy, or in the community.
Areas of focus include and are not limited to:
- Development of workflows and processes to ensure patients who are eligible for outpatient COVID-19 therapeutics will receive pre-exposure prophylaxis or treatment in accordance with evidence-based guidelines. This includes but is not limited to:
- Expanded ability to dispense medications on site or via outreach teams
- Expanded telehealth capabilities including advice call line triage
- Developed surge capacity
- Support of mobile clinics and home visits, including street medicine providers.Partnerships are encouraged.
- Developed infusion capabilities
- Expanded urgent care and/or same day appointment capacity
- Coordination of care and services, including ensuring prescription receipt by patient (at preferred pharmacy where medications are available, mail order or courier)
- Enhanced health information technology and data tools in order to better serve and understand the needs of vulnerable populations
- Care coordination, outreach, and member education that facilitates access to pre-exposure prophylaxis medication (Evusheld).
- Providing non-emergency transportation as needed.
- Maintained and tracked utilization data reporting that includes race/ethnicity, zip code, age, primary language, and gender to look for and address disparities in access.
- Review and updating of educational content and materials for providers, patients, and community members, such as clinical advice phone lines, online content, and mailed content and internal policies. This content might encourage testing of those with COVID-19 symptoms, share methods to access COVID testing kits, and outline treatment eligibility with appropriate connection to applicable resources.
- Facilitation of provider education on indications and availability of testing and outpatient pre-exposure prophylaxis and treatment for COVID-19 and how to access it, including information on the NIH COVID Treatment Guidelines
- Support for the registration of Test to Treat providers and sharing of information about incentives, communications, awareness campaigns, and COVID-19 therapeutics directly from respective local health jurisdictions.
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