March 10, 2021By Lance Baily

Healthcare Simulation Funding Available in U.S. Through HEERF II Grants Until April 15th

Is your healthcare simulation team searching for additional funding opportunities? The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) II is a federal bill designed to provide nearly $81.9 billion in an Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) to support the educational needs of learners, states, school districts and higher education institutions, including simulation centers, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, this funding was known as the CARES Act. Simulationists and healthcare simulation institutions can determine if they qualify for this government funding by submitting an application by April 15, 2021.

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This funding has become especially pertinent to the simulation community due to simulation center closures and restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. These COVID-19 responses have caused many centers to limit staff and find new, innovative ways to provide clinical simulation instruction to learners. While switching curricula to include more remote simulation practices has proved effective, new digital resources come at a price. This omnibus bill can help simulation faculty and staff to supplement income that may have needed to be reallocated during this time.

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To help break down this funding, 89% ($20.2 billion) will go directly to public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education (IHEs); 7.5% ($1.7 billion) is reserved exclusively for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving Institutions; 3% ($681 million) is reserved for for-profit institutions; and 0.5% ($113 million) is reserved exclusively for institutions that the Education Department determines have the most unmet needs related to the effects of COVID-19. An additional $20.2 billion will be dedicated to public and private nonprofit institutions.

According to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), an institution has one year from the date the school’s supplemental grant was processed to distribute the HEERF II funds. Additionally, grants received by institutions that were created through the CARES Act in March of 2020 are still subject to their original one-year deadlines. Institutions may use the funds to defray expenses associated with COVID-19, including:

  • Lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred
  • Technology costs associated with a transition to distance education
  • Faculty and staff training
  • Payroll
  • Student support activities authorized by the HEA that address needs related to coronavirus
  • Additional financial aid grants to learners

Note: Schools that previously received Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) grant funds under the CARES Act (HEERF I funds) are required to start drawing down funds from both the student and institutional portions of HEERF II funds within 90 days of receiving their respective supplemental HEERF II award notifications. In addition, schools should not simply draw down their entire HEERF II student and institutional allocations at once. Rather, the HEERF funds must be drawn down only as necessary to meet immediate cash needs for spending the funds.

The NASFAA adds that applications are not required to receive supplemental awards under HEERF II for institutions which received HEERF I funds. However, public and nonprofit institutions that did not previously receive CARES Act funding (HEERF I) must submit their applications for the CRRSAA student aid and institutional portions of HEERF II by the April 15, 2021 application date.

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Likewise, proprietary institutions must submit their applications for the CRRSAA student aid portion by April 15, 2021. This is the case regardless of whether or not they have previously received funds under the CARES Act (HEERF I).

This Pocket Nurse Sim Talk Blog post shares useful information relating to HEERF II funding. The article explains how HEERF II funding can be used, and offers a list of Pocket Nurse solutions that the funding can be used for. Hands-on distance learning models and solutions for in-person learning are also presented.

Healthcare Simulation Products Eligible for HEERF II Funding

There are a number of solutions that are eligible to meet the criteria for HEERF II funding. If eligible for this grant, healthcare simulation centers and institutions must consider which products or services will help them to best meet their desired educational outcomes. As the pandemic continues, these facilities should look to acquire products that make remote simulation and virtual simulation increasingly possible. Here are a few medical simulation products to consider implementing into a clinical simulation program:

CAE Distance Learning Suite for Nursing: The CAE Healthcare Distance Learning Suite for Nursing combines the company’s latest offerings for remote patient simulation with a new virtual patient, nursing scenarios and a Multipad for skills training at home. This is designed to engage nursing students and meet skills training requirements while teaching from a distance. Featuring realistic, durable and self-healing MedicSkin from Medicor Labs, CAE’s MultiPad skill trainers are durable and easy to maintain and disinfect, making them ideal for repeated use. The trainers support asynchronous and synchronous learning, making them the perfect complement to CAE Healthcare’s Distance Learning Suite.

SIMULATIONiQ Virtual OSCE: SIMULATIONiQ Virtual OSCE supports requirements for delivering video-based OSCE encounters anytime, anywhere. The solution provides a turnkey platform to conduct high-impact standardized patient encounters in a fully virtual environment and meet immediate clinical training needs. Seamlessly deploy a full repository of OSCE-ready cases, provide your independent SPs, or take advantage of EMS’ SP Sourcing and SP Training services.

MedVision Leonardo: MedVision’s Leonardo HF is a human patient simulator of an adult male. He was created in order to solve most difficult tasks in specialist training: vital signs, realistic sensation and feedback, and increased durability; but these are just a few of his many traits. Leonardo has a tetherless connection (with up to eight hours of battery life) that is rechargeable with a swappable battery, and comes with smart accessories. The mannequin also comes with a steady supply of durable consumables; realistic, seamless skin; increased durability; and reliable construction. Leonardo is incredibly lifelike in weight (150 lbs.) and height (5 ft., 9 in.), and connects to a real ventilator.

Medical-X Lap-X: The Medical-X LAP-X is a laparoscopic surgical simulator. The solution provides easy, accessible, minimally-invasive surgery simulation training for medical professionals at low cost. LAP-X is designed for surgical residents, physicians and operating room assistants to exercise laparoscopy skills training in medical schools/universities, hospitals and skills centers. The solution also delivers clinical simulation training for various surgical specialties such as general surgery, gynecology, urology, pediatric surgery and gastrointestinal surgery.

VirtaMed LaparoS: TheVirtaMed LaparoS is an innovative laparoscopic skill training program derived from validated concepts. Users start with patient safety, abdomen positioning and trocar placement, and progress toward condensed sequences which teach key skills in realistic anatomical environments. This solution makes motivational learning with proficiency-based progression possible.

Oxford Medical Simulation Virtual Reality Medicine & Nursing Distance Learning: OMS Distance is the online and distance-learning solution from Oxford Medical Simulation. OMS Distance delivers quality, standardized simulation scenarios, feedback and blended learning on one intuitive platform. Learners can access flexible, immersive, engaging simulation scenarios wherever they are in the world — either in VR or on-screen — to achieve first-rate educational outcomes remotely. With libraries of scenarios for students and practicing clinicians across healthcare, OMS Distance supports all groups of learners at any stage of their career.

GIGXR Extended Reality Applications: GigXR is a SaaS platform that delivers extended reality (XR) healthcare simulation applications for learning environments, higher education institutions, and enterprise facilities. The company offers an energetic training solution using Augmented Reality  by creating innovative clinical simulation applications to solve perennial problems around visualization and 3D understanding. Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Los Angeles, GIGXR has harnessed a proven track record for recognizing key problems in education and training, and unlocking the potential of XR in simulation technologies to solve them. The company’s holographic applications and immersive learning platform have been built on years of pedagogical research.

UbiSim Virtual Simulation Lab: UbiSim’s Virtual Simulation Lab includes lifelike patients to maximize learner engagement while they develop clinical reasoning, decision-making and communication skills. Simulation educators can utilize prebuilt clinical scenarios or customize them to fit their program’s needs. The highly emotional nature of VR makes all the difference — learners are physically present and emotionally invested with their patients. Further, UbiSim allows students to practice until mastery, as repetition is an essential part of the learning process.

Lecat’s Ventriloscope Auscultation Training: Ventriloscope is a medical device company that manufactured one of the first healthcare simulation stethoscopes in 2008. Invented by Dr. Paul Lecat, the company’s scopes and accessories are backed by research, and the goal is to stress the importance of proper physical examinations and diagnosis. Vebntriloscope believes that the next frontier in mortality reduction will come by using clinical simulation training to help professionals recognize crucial findings and act early to prevent the next code.

Sentinel U Virtual Clinicals: Sentinel U’s virtual nursing simulations and clinicals are engaging, effective, economical and convenient for learners to safely learn anywhere, at any time while earning virtual clinical hours. They integrate seamlessly into any program, course and curriculum to enhance learning by offering practice experience while building confidence and skills. Based on nursing standards, the clinicals were developed by experienced nursing faculty. Sentinel U’s products align with QSEN Quality and Safety Competencies, AACN BSN Essentials, NLN Core Competencies and Quad Council Core Competencies.

MedCognition PerSim: MedCognition’s PerSim is a holographic patient made to help frontline healthcare professionals save more lives. With PerSim, learners can practice caring for critically-ill patients in the classroom or where actually lifesaving care is provided: at the incident site, in the back of an ambulance, in the ER or the OR. The solution features highly-realistic depictions of actual patient conditions like diaphoresis (sweating) or seizures, and allows for multiple learners to see the same patient at the same time. Simulation educators are also able to livestream what the learner sees to the rest of the team/class in real-time.

ReelDx Video Cases: ReelDx video cases are designed to integrate flexibly into any aspect of healthcare simulation instruction. Simulation educators can bring real-world applications into their early theoretical classes, and enhance their clinical simulations by providing case studies to prepare before or reinforce afterward. They can also provide repeatable “compare and contrast” resources that go hand-in-hand with clinical practicums. Videos feature real patients in the ER, exam room, community clinics, pre-hospital and developing world, and all videos are fully consented.

Avkin Virtual Standardized Patient Training: Avkin offers a virtual solution for live patient interactions. Each clinical simulation is tailored to the unique needs of an institution. Utilizing Avkin’s simulated standardized patients allows healthcare simulation educators to save time and money. Through this virtual solution, institutions receive guidelines for their clinical simulation faculty, high-quality patients ready for simulation, and feedback from the patient’s perspective. Educators can simply log into Zoom with their learners to begin each healthcare simulation.

Axon Park Virtual Campus: Axon Park is a virtual campus where users learn by doing. The company helps organizations, governments and universities harness the power of virtual reality and augmented reality (XR) for training and education. Axon Park focuses on highly-immersive and interactive VR training experiences designed to improve learning outcomes and lower costs. The company’s VR healthcare simulation training solutions are designed to boost learner performance and improve retention, while enabling rich data collection in ways which haven’t been possible through traditional education.

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Learn More About CRRSAA: HEERF II and NASFAA

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