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Nursing Homes: COVID-19 Communicative Technology Grants

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that, with State approval, Medicaid-certified nursing facilities are eligible to receive up to $3,000 to purchase communication technology that will enable residents to conduct virtual visits with family and friends and to participate in telehealth visits.  

These funds may be used to purchase tablets, iPads, and similar devices, as well as some types of accessories. The opportunity is limited to nursing homes because the grants are funded by Civil Money Penalties (CMP) collected from them.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) posted information for implementation of the grant to its nursing home webpage.  If you scroll down and expand the link called “Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) Initiative,” you will find links to:

  • A Frequently-Asked-Questions document prepared by CMS.
  • Minnesota-Specific Instructions, which are important to read before applying for a grant, and
  • the CMP COVID-19 Communicative Technology Application

Essentially the process will look like this: Providers will complete and submit the application form to DHS by email. DHS will review applications to verify they are complete and that requests fall within the parameters established by CMS. Once DHS reviews and approves an application, it will email to the provider an approval letter and a “micro-grant” contract. The provider then will sign, date and submit the micro-grant contract. Once the provider has submitted the micro-grant contract, it can purchase equipment.

CMS has informed DHS that previously-purchased equipment is not eligible for reimbursement under this program. Under our state’s process, that means only equipment purchased after providers submit their completed micro-grant contract are eligible for reimbursement. However, this does not prevent providers that have previously purchased equipment from seeking a grant in order to purchase additional equipment.

The Minnesota-Specific Instructions note that DHS will require each individual nursing home to submit a separate application. This differs from the instructions on the CMS CMP COVID-19 Technology Application but is a necessary step specific to Minnesota that will allow DHS to expedite distribution of these funds.

For technical assistance with your application or questions regarding this funding opportunity, contact Munna Yasiri, the DHS staff liaison.

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