The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a funding opportunity providing up to $66.1 million available to support prevention activities and treatment services for health conditions related to the Zika virus. Congress authorized this funding in the Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act (P.L. 114-223).
“This funding will accelerate efforts to provide access to important health care services for people, in particular pregnant women and children, living in areas with local active Zika transmission,” Vikki Wachino, Deputy Administrator, CMS, Director CMCS. “Providing immediate assistance to areas affected by Zika is critical. Strong coordination by health departments is essential to address the prevention and treatment needs of people at risk from Zika.”
In accordance with the Zika Response and Preparedness Act (P.L. 114-223), entities eligible to apply for this funding opportunity include states, territories, tribes or tribal organizations with active or local transmission of the Zika virus, as confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has designated American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida as areas with laboratory-confirmed active or local Zika virus transmission. As such, this emergency funding opportunity is currently available to the territorial and state health departments in these areas.
Through this funding opportunity, up to $66.1 million is available, with $60.6 million directed to Puerto Rico, which has a high incidence of local Zika cases. Allocations are based on the percent of active and local Zika cases reported by the CDC and the size of the populations in these areas. Funding in Puerto Rico will significantly increase the resources and capacity needed to prevent transmission of the virus and provide critical diagnostic, screening and treatment for pregnant women, newborns and others.
To ensure a rapid Zika response, applicants must demonstrate their ability to quickly and efficiently expand existing Zika response efforts and further determine the most effective use and dissemination of funds in their respective jurisdictions. Funds will be available for health care services related to family planning, diagnostic testing, screening and counseling, medical care, case management and treatment, and improving provider capacity and capability.