Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith voted to secure $8.3 billion in emergency funding for coronavirus preparedness and response efforts, including support for state and local health agencies, vaccine and treatment development, and low-interest loans for small businesses affected by the outbreak.
Included in the bill was an additional $500 million to expand telehealth services for seniors in small towns and rural areas who receive Medicare benefits. The emergency funding also includes at least $40 million for tribal health entities to ensure tribal communities have the resources needed to respond to the virus outbreak.
According to a news release, the state of Minnesota is expected to receive at least $10 million as part of this emergency funding.
On a related note, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota announced coverage updates on Friday afternoon in an effort to combat the spread and impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Part of their plan is to expand access to telehealth and nurse/provider hotlines.