Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday announced a $116 million plan to address the burden the COVID-19 crisis has placed on rural hospitals and other health care providers. All but $25 million is expected to come from federal funds, he said.
“This plan will provide improved access to care for Arkansas citizens and keep the doors to Arkansas health care providers open and their workforce employed,” Hutchinson said at his news briefing Thursday afternoon. ”
The plan calls for:
• Funding for capital improvements at certain health care facilities for environmental modifications such as drive-through test sites and building isolation areas.
• Financial support for workforce safety and training for providers for whom it is required to continue to provide face-to-face services.
• Expansion of telemedicine and non-emergency transportation to keep patients connected to their medical care.
• Additional payments to support nurses: $1,000 per month for non-physician direct care workers, primarily nurses, and $2,000 per month for non-physician direct care workers who are in a facility treating COVID-19 patients.
• Additional payments to nursing facilities that care for a disproportionate share of individuals being treated for COVID-19.
• To help prevent negative impacts to the physical and mental health of a Medicaid-eligible child in foster care, the state would also provide an additional monthly payment of $500 to all foster families during the emergency period.
Watch the governor’s COVID-19 briefing below: