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DHS extends enhanced rate for COVID-19 shots in bid to encourage more vaccinations

10/06/2021

For Immediate Release:
October 6, 2021


Media Contacts
Amy Webb, Chief of Communications & Community Engagement
amy.webb@dhs.arkansas.gov

Gavin Lesnick, Deputy Chief of Communications
gavin.lesnick.dhs@dhs.arkansas.gov


(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Arkansas Medicaid providers will be paid a higher rate for administering first- and second-round doses of the COVID-19 vaccines through the end of the year as part of a continuing effort to raise the vaccination rate across the state, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) announced today.

Under this program, Medicaid will pay $100 rather than the usual $40 vaccine administration rate for each first- or second-round dose of COVID-19 vaccines. That means providers who administer both the first and second doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be paid $200 ($100 for each dose), an increase of $120 from the normal rate.

These enhanced rates originally went into effect in August and were set to expire on October 11. The change announced today extends the higher rate through the end of the year.

“While more than 1.3 million Arkansans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, there is still work to be done,” said Elizabeth Pitman, director of DHS’s Division of Medical Services. “This increased rate will help providers offer additional outreach, clinics, and resources to make sure everyone eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine gets one.”

The enhanced rate is part of the Arkansas Medicaid Vaccination Program, or MVP, a campaign created in response to low vaccination rates among the state’s Medicaid population. To date, only about 33 percent of eligible Medicaid clients have had at least one dose of a vaccine. 

Through Arkansas MVP, DHS has worked closely with primary care providers to make sure patients are informed about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines and have resources available to get vaccinated. Since the program began, an additional 25,000 eligible Medicaid clients have gotten vaccinated. 

Information for both providers and patients has been posted in a pair of toolkits on the DHS website at ar.gov/mvp, and paid advertising campaigns have directed Arkansans to these resources. Information in the toolkits include:

•    A factsheet that provides accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccines and how to get vaccinated in your community
•    A flyer outlining the important message that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, easy, free, and urgently needed
•    Audio and video Public Service Announcements featuring University of Arkansas Head Football Coach Sam Pittman and Arkansas Razorback “Super Fan” Canaan Sandy promoting the COVID-19 vaccine and encouraging everyone to get vaccinated
•    Links to resources for Medicaid recipients, like how to find the most convenient location near you where COVID-19 vaccines are available and how to get free transportation to get vaccinated
•    A draft electronic message that providers can email to patients and clients or send to their patient portal accounts

DHS also published a series of graphics detailing ways to respond to family or friends who may be hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Those resources are available here.

All three available COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and available at no cost for Arkansans 12 and older in every county in the state. Visit vaccines.gov for the nearest vaccination location to you, or click here for a list of clinics from the Arkansas Department of Health.

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