Serving the home health, home care and hospice industry since 1999.

With the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant impacting communities across the country, HHAeXchange, a provider of home care management solutions for payers, providers, and state Medicaid agencies, is joining NAHC, the National Minority Health Association, and leading home care provider AccentCare to help launch the Flex for Checks program, a concerted effort to increase vaccination among home care workers.

We spoke with HHAeXchange president Steve Vaccaro about the company's commitment to this national public health effort.

"We are excited to be part of this important initiative," he told us. "We are committed to the vision espoused by our partners in the Flex for Checks program. At HHAeXchange, we have a connection with 900,000 caregivers and 600,000 care recipients through our relationship with over 5,000 provider agencies. So we are well-positioned to help the NMHA move this forward."

He added during our conversation that he, too, has detected vaccine hesitancy among caregivers. "Our role in supporting this grant is to raise awareness. As any provider company in our network shows interest, we will refer them to the Flex for Checks website. Working with the NMHA, our emphasis will be on communication. We plan LinkedIn posts and our other social media avenues, anything we can do to help the NMHA."

He also said that, though the partnership has just begun, he has already begun to receive some positive feedback, especially where HHAeXchange has state EVV contracts, including New Jersey, West Virginia, Alabama, and Minnesota. As an aside, he mentioned that his company will be bidding for other state contracts as existing ones come up for renewal.

Vaccaro's CEO also weighed in on the newly announced partnership. "We are excited to be part of such an important initiative aimed at conquering one of the toughest challenges the home health community is facing right now," said HHAeXchange CEO Greg Strobel. "I believe HHAeXchange is uniquely positioned to reach payers, home care agencies, and workers to drive the vaccination effort and keep our communities safe at this critical time."


Patient Needs at Forefront

"COVID dramatically changed the home care landscape and the way we operate," Vaccaro concluded. "All of us need to consider the needs of patients and the safety of our workers. It is good for all of us to have discussions about this as we move forward, to share information. We need to work together to move the needle on the vaccine by providing good information."

Increasing vaccination rates among home health workers is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19, but all Flex for Checks partners have expressed surprise at what they have discovered. NAHC, in consultation with other industry leaders, estimate a vaccination range of 40 to 90 percent depending on the home health company and the professional discipline of the caregiver.


HRSA Grant Background

The Flex for Checks community-based program was developed as part of an $11.1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that seeks to mobilize home care workers to increase vaccination confidence and rates in underserved communities in the fight against COVID-19.

The grant is part of the approximately $125 million available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) American Rescue Plan to develop and support a community-based workforce that will serve as trusted voices in sharing information about COVID-19 vaccines, increase vaccine confidence, and address barriers to vaccination for those living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities.

"We are thrilled to partner with HHAeXchange, NAHC, and AccentCare as we seek to get as many home care workers and people in underserved areas vaccinated as possible," said Burgess Harrison, Executive Director of the NMHA. "I believe this effort is the first of its kind, in that we are bringing home care agencies, frontline workers, consumers, pharmacies, and software companies together in the fight of our lives against COVID-19."

Any home health or home care agency can join the effort by registering at the Flex for Checks website. Once registered, their in-home care workers can register to receive financial rewards for every vaccination they facilitate. Both care workers and their patients and clients will also receive a reward for each confirmed vaccination shot.

About NMHA
The National Minority Health Association, founded in 1988 by Dr. David L. Dalton, Chairman, and CEO, UNIVEC Conglomerate, Inc. (UNVC), achieved its initial mission of ensuring the establishment of Offices of Minority Health in all 50 states. Today the NMHA is adding to its mission and deploying new programs that utilize patient-centered, value-based care, and new ways of enhancing care to patients where they are, lowering costs, and improving outcomes for minority and underserved communities.

There are several ways to become involved:

About HHAeXchange
Founded in 2008, HHAeXchange provides a software platform for homecare and self-direction program management. Developed specifically for Medicaid home and community-based services, the HHAeXchange platform connects state agencies, managed care payers, providers, and caregivers through its intuitive web-based platform, which supports communication, transparency, efficiency, and compliance.


©2021 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. This article originally appeared in Home Care Technology: The Rowan Report. Click here to subscribe. It may be freely reproduced provided this copyright statement remains intact.