State Agencies Collaborate to Create COVID-19 Essential Worker Health Care Fund

By Pyle Law, October 01 2020 6:10 pm
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State Agencies Collaborate to Create COVID-19 Essential Worker Health Care Fund

By Pyle Law, October 01 2020 6:10 pm
State Agencies Collaborate to Create COVID-19 Essential  Worker Health Care Fund

Health Care Assistance for Early Childhood Professionals and  Other Essential Workers 

TOPEKA — Governor Laura Kelly, along with multiple state agencies, announced today a collaborative effort to allocate $8  million in federal funds Kansas received under the Coronavirus  Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to cover health care expenses for early childhood professionals and other essential workers who contracted COVID-19. 

“The dedication and selflessness displayed by Kansas essential workers have been critical to our recovery efforts across the state in cities big and small and rural communities,” Governor Laura  Kelly said. “They risk their health each and every day to help  others and these funds make it possible for the state of Kansas to  help cover expenses in the unfortunate cases when they contract  COVID-19.”

The Essential Worker Health Care Fund involves collaboration  between the Kansas Department of Health and Environment  (KDHE) as the lead entity, the Kansas Department for Children  and Families (DCF), the Kansas Department for Aging and  Disability Services (KDADS), and the Kansas Children’s Cabinet  and Trust Fund (KCCTF). KDHE’s Special Health Care Needs  (SHCN) program will oversee the funds and process applications.  Applications will be available online and include a release of  information to verify health status and allow sharing of  information related to COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment.  

DCF’s “Hero Relief Program” website (http://ksherorelief.com/)  will be the public-facing marketing and communications platform  for the fund. The “Health Care Assistance” portal of the site went  live August 24, so Kansans can start applying. 

Assistance will be available to essential workers in positions/fields  including but not limited to: 

• Health Care and Emergency Services 

• First Responder 

• LTSS – Long-term Services and Supports  

• Agriculture & Food Production 

• Food Service 

• Transportation and Logistics Services 

• Building, Construction, and Trades 

• Manufacturing and Chemicals 

• Energy, Water and Utilities 

• Custodial and Waste Services 

• Election  

• Government Worker (Federal, State, Local/City) • Education 

• Military  

• Licensed Child Care 

• Frontline Behavioral Health & Social Services 

• Home Visiting (local programs serving families with children  birth to 5 years) 

In order to be considered, individuals must have a COVID-19  positive diagnosis and verify essential worker status.  

Assistance will be limited to qualifying medical expense payout of  $25,000 for uninsured individuals (no health care coverage) and  $15,000 for insured individuals (coinsurance/copays and  deductibles). 

“In these challenging and uncertain times, the thing we all hold  fastest to is our health,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “It’s time to  show our gratitude and compassion to the workers and the families  who need it most right now and who show their compassion for all  of us every day.”  

In alignment with the Strengthening People and Revitalizing  Kansas (SPARK) Committee goal of providing vulnerable  populations with access to health services, KDADS, KDHE, DCF,  and the KCCTF recommended the creation of a COVID-19 health  care expenses relief fund for critical infrastructure and essential  workers who contracted COVID-19.  

These workers are on the front lines of the pandemic, providing  critical services that enable many Kansans to stay safe at home.  Applicants must provide proof of employment as a qualifying  essential worker during the pandemic.  

The SPARK Taskforce is charged with leading Kansas forward in recovery from the far-reaching effects of COVID-19. The SPARK  Executive and Steering Committees, in conjunction with the Office of Recovery team, are responsible for the statewide distribution of CARES Act funding.  

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