In early April, the Biden administration announced the American Rescue Plan as a means to expand COVID-19 vaccine access to the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities, across the country. Largely provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the $10 billion investment is specifically dedicated to “better serve communities of color, rural areas, low-income populations, and other underserved communities in the COVID-19 response.”
In total, 1337 Federally-qualified health centers (FQHC) have been awarded over $6 billion to help acquire and maintain the resources and tools needed to effectively and efficiently vaccinate the most at-risk and underserved communities.
Managed by the Health Resources & Services Administration, FQHCs have the possibility to use the funds immediately to help facilitate access to vaccines and care. Resource allocation categories include:
The HRSA outlines all the details in their American Rescue Plan Q&A PDF.
Pomelo Health has been a major player in facilitating vaccinations throughout North America, having adapted our Patient Engagement Platform for vaccine administration early on. With tools like eBooking, appointment reminders, secure messaging and more, providers are using the solution to easily book & distribute COVID-19 vaccinations. Requiring no complex integration, the Pomelo Platform was designed to be easily implemented and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s Health Centers.
To keep processes organized and save staff valuable time, it was imperative that citizens be able to book their own appointments online, from a system that could automatically vet people based on their demographic eligibility. By adopting a centralized system to help guide patients through their vaccine or clinic journey, Health Centers can not only increase their patient satisfaction, but also the number of patients they are able to see in a day.
Because FQHCs are often found in low-income, rural or underserved communities, their services were already in high-demand before the pandemic. Now, with the additional challenges that COVID-19 has brought about, the American Rescue Plan was designed to not only help alleviate some of these added pressures, but also leverage FQHCs as efficient vaccination locations.
To date, over 1 billion vaccines have been administered; however, what happens once we have achieved herd immunity? According to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, “people who receive Covid-19 vaccines will likely require booster shots within a year and potentially require an annual shot thereafter, much like seasonal flu shots, to protect against the virus as it evolves.”
While this booster shot will presumably not put as much pressure on the healthcare system as this initial vaccine drive, it will still require a system to book and follow-up with patients. And because of the versatile nature of the Pomelo platform, Centers who adopted it for vaccine administration will be able to customize it to meet their business-as-usual status, once the pandemic has subsided.