Coronavirus update for April 21 as of 5:00 p.m.
Congress and Administration Agree on Next Aid Package
Congressional leaders and the Trump administration have agreed to provide $75 billion for hospitals as part of a $484 billion COVID-19 and economic relief package. This $75 billion would be addition to the money from the CARES Act and would have the same parameters as the CARES Act money.
The bill also includes $25 billion to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer, and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests. Among others, this $25 billion would be distributed as follows:
- $11 billion for states, localities, and territories to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests, increase laboratory capacity, trace contacts, and support employee testing.
- $1 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for surveillance, epidemiology, lab capacity expansion, contact tracing, public health data surveillance, and the modernization of analytics infrastructure.
- $1.8 billion to the National Institutes of health to develop, validate, improve, and implement testing and associated technologies, accelerate research and development of point-of-care testing, and partnerships with other entities.
- $1 billion for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) for advanced research, development, manufacture, production, and purchase of diagnostic, serologic, and other COVID-19 tests and supplies.
- $825 million for Community Health Centers and rural health clinics.
- Up to $1 billion to pay for testing for the uninsured.
Other major components of the bill include $310 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program and $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief fund.
The Senate has already passed the bill and the House will vote on it on Thursday.
Department of Health and Human Services
HHS announced today that it has distributed nearly $1 billion in CARES Act grants to support older adults and people with disabilities who are living in the community during the COVID-19 emergency. See how much money each state received in this list.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
CMS has announced that providers that participate in clinical trials testing the use of drugs and biologics to treat COVID-19 and share their clinical data through the Medicare Quality Payment Program will receive credit in CMS’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). According to a CMS news release, “…clinicians who report this activity will automatically earn half of the total credit needed to earn a maximum score in the MIPS improvement activities performance category, which counts as 15 percent of the MIPS final score.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has updated its FAQs for clinical labs performing COVID-19 tests.
- The CDC has published interim guidance for implementing safety practices for critical infrastructure workers who may have been exposed to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- The CDC has posted resources for use in conducting contact tracing to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA has posted updated serology/antibody test FAQs.
- The FDA has published a fact sheet on serological testing for antibodies to COVID-19.
- The FDA has published a letter to health care providers with information on the use of serological (antibody) tests for COVID-19.
Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care
In the wake of CMS’s announcement earlier this month that ambulatory surgery centers would temporarily be permitted to operate as hospitals to increase the capacity of the health care system during the COVID-19 emergency, the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health has posted resources for use in facilitating those temporary transitions.
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.