Coronavirus update for May 20, 2020 as of 2:30 p.m.
Department of Health and Human Services
- HHS has updated its FAQ for the distribution of CARES Act money through the Provider Relief Fund on four occasions in the past two weeks, including new updates dated yesterday. Updates from yesterday include instructions on attestation and questions about change in ownership. Go here to see the changes, which are identified within the document.
- HHS announced that its Health Resources and Services Administration provided $225 million to rural health clinics for COVID-19 testing and shared a state-by-state breakdown of the funding.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- For COVID-19 tests that do not use high throughput technology, CMS has announced that Medicare Administrative Contractors have developed payment amounts for claims in their jurisdictions that will be used until CMS establishes national payment rates though the annual laboratory meeting process. The same notice includes reminders about other payment policies implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
- CMS has published a therapy codes update that includes the addition of codes related to the COVID-19 emergency.
- CMS has posted information for hospitals requesting Medicare approval for swing beds as a hospital service to provide skilled nursing care for hospitalized patients who do not need acute care but cannot find nursing home placement during the COVID-19 crisis.
- During the COVID-19 emergency, CMS is relaxing billing requirements for a limited number of laboratory tests required for a COVID-19 diagnosis. Any health care professional authorized under state law may order these tests and Medicare will pay for these tests without a written order from the treating physician or other practitioner.
- During the COVID-19 crisis, Medicare will cover medically necessary emergency and non-emergency ground ambulance transportation from any point of origin to a destination that is equipped to treat the condition of the patient consistent with state and local emergency medical services protocols where the services will be furnished.
- CMS’s Office of Minority Health has compiled federal resources on COVID-19 to assist those who work with vulnerable patients, such as older adults, those with underlying medical conditions, racial and ethnic minorities, rural communities, and people with disabilities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has posted its original plan for guiding the reopening of the country. This is the detailed, 60-page plan that was not released publicly but was instead revised into a series of shorter advisory documents.
- The CDC has updated its information for pediatric providers about multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA approved the use of succinylcholine chloride injection to facilitate tracheal intubation and provide skeletal muscle relaxation during surgery or mechanical ventilation.
- The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for a specific commercial diagnostic test for COVID-19.
Congressional Research Service
The CRS has published a new report titled “FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program and Connected Care Pilot Program: Funding to Assist Health Care Providers and Patients.”
Department of Labor
The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA’s requirements involving COVID-19 as economies reopen in states throughout the country.
Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals
The National Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency. Find that document here.