SCHOOLS RECEIVE GRANT
Colby Public Schools recently received a Pathways to a Health Kansas grant through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas to bring new life to the elementary school’s indoor recesses.
Bryan Miller, the elementary school’s P.E. teacher, worked to secure $30,000 worth of grant money to replace and upgrade old equipment with new and exciting gear for the kids to play with… including a 20-foot rock climbing wall, gymnastics mats, scooters, badminton and hockey gear among much more.
Miller was also able to purchase a wireless sound system so that the kids can better understand him during class will staying masked up.
SIGN UP FOR COVID-19 VACCINES
Citizens Health along with the Thomas County Health Department have announced that residents of Thomas County who are 65 and over or patients of Family Center for Health Care (FCHC) who are 65 and older, will be the first to receive the vaccination in phase two of the Kansas Vaccination Plan, but you will need to sign up. To register for the vaccine or to learn more about the state’s plan, please visit cmciks.com.
NEX-TECH HAS FOOD DRIVE
Nex-Tech Wireless is having a food drive to celebrate Canned Food Month in February! Stop by 1933 S. Range Ave and donate five canned good items to get $10 off any wireless accessory. All canned food will be donated to Genesis Food Bank.
BEAT THE VIRUS
As a part of the Governor’s plan to beat the Corona Virus, the Kansas Leadership Center has organized committees all over the state to help lead the effort.
The Northwest Kansas Beat the Virus Committee would like to encourage businesses who post that masks are required, to make sure all employees and everyone who enters their establishment honor that requirement.
If businesses don’t want to require masks, the committee recommends changing the sign to say masks are preferred or recommended. To help people with health issues feel safer shopping in a store that doesn’t require masks, they recommend offering an hour or two a week where masks are mandatory, so these individuals may feel comfortable to come and do their shopping.
COMMUNITY HEALTH NEEDS ASSESSMENT
Over the next three months, Citizen’s Health will be working with other area providers to update the 2018 Thomas County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Citizens Health is seeking input from community members regarding the healthcare needs in Thomas County in order to complete the 2021 CHNA. This is a requirement for Critical Access Hospitals and they welcome your feedback if you choose to participate.
To accomplish this work, please complete the short online survey by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CHNA2021_ThomasCo (Thomas County Residents only). All community residents and business leaders are encouraged to complete the 2021 online CHNA survey by Friday, March 5, 2021. All responses are confidential.
A virtual community town hall meeting is scheduled for Thursday March 25, 2021 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. More details regarding the virtual community town hall will be shared early March. If you have any questions about CHNA activities, please call (785) 460-1214 or email email@example.com.
STATE TACKLES UNEMPLOYMENT FRAUD
The Kansas Department of Labor is deploying a new security system to prevent fraud in the unemployment insurance system. This new security system will deploy identity verification software for unemployment insurance accounts and claims. The deployment of the new security system will be a major tool to combat identity theft.
Once these security tools are deployed and are running, KDOL expects to see a decline or outright elimination of fraudulent benefit notices that individuals and businesses have been receiving from KDOL. The system will also provide two-factor authentication so that claimants will be able to more securely log in and access their account.
In order to ensure unemployment benefit payments are not made on fraudulent claims, KDOL will hold payment of Regular Unemployment benefits until the new system is operational on February 2, 2021. Claimants will get any back pay owed as a result of the hold at that time.
Benefit payments to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program will not be impacted by the upgrade, but claimants will have to verify their identity within the new system when it becomes operational.
Claimants will be required to verify their identity by answering questions specific to the their credit history. Once an identity is verified, the system will prompt the claimant to setup two-factor authentication for her or his benefit account moving forward. This additional layer of security is an important factor in protecting KDOL unemployment insurance.
Since March 15, 2020 KDOL has paid out over 3.9 million weekly claims totaling over $2.6 billion between regular unemployment and the federal pandemic programs. For more information, or to apply for unemployment benefits, go to www.GetKansasBenefits.gov.
The IRS issued guidance urging taxpayers who receive Forms 1099-G for unemployment benefits in error to contact the Kansas Department of Labor. (The following information is from Adams Brown)
- To receive an updated 1099-G, fill out a request on the KDOL Self-Service Portal under “Dispute my 1099.” Select the “I want to dispute my 1099” box and upload an Unsworn Declaration that you did not receive the Kansas Department of Labor benefits listed on your 1099-G.
- You can also send a written dispute with your full name and last four digits of your social security number to the Kansas Department of Labor: Fraudulent 1099 Inquiry, Kansas Department of Labor, 401 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka, KS 66603-3182 (Make sure that both the written dispute and Unsworn Declaration form state the reason for the dispute as “identity theft.”)
- Also make sure to visit dol.ks.gov/fraud and submit a report, if you haven’t already. For more information on reporting fraud, see the Unemployment Fraud FAQ page.
RURAL HEALTH CARE REGIONAL CONVERSATIONS
Through a partnership of the Kansas Health Foundation, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, the Kansas Hospital Association, and the KU Public Management Center an initiative has been undertaken to create a conversation around the challenges and needs of rural health care.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act that was passed a few weeks ago contained many COVID specific actions along with the creation of a new payment/delivery model for rural hospitals…the “Rural Emergency Hospital” (REH). The REH is a permanent solution for rural communities and uses a payment approach that proponents say is workable for rural Kansas.
Regional conversations are the first step in helping rural communities and their hospitals making the transition. Through the regional conversations, the state hopes to identify communities that are interested in exploring the REH and in holding their own community conversation and to identify organizations and individuals willing to sign onto a statement of support for the REH concept.
Registration is free and the regional meetings are open to any interested organization or citizen across Kansas. For more information visit the Kansas Association of Counties website.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM UPDATE
The SBA has re-opened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal to all participating PPP lenders. PPP provides loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. SBA is currently offering:
- First Draw PPP loans- for those borrowers who have not received a PPP loan before August 8, 2020.
- Second Draw PPP loans- for eligible small businesses with 300 employees or less and that previously received a First Draw PPP loan. These borrowers will have to use or had used the full amount of their First Draw loan only for authorized uses and demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. The maximum amount of a Second Draw PPP loan is $2 million.
The Paycheck Protection Program remains open for First and Second Draw PPP loans until March 31, 2021, as set forth in the Economic Aid Act, or until Congressionally appropriated funding is exhausted.