The following is the latest COVID-19 information from federal regulators and others as of 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 3.
Department of Labor
The Labor Department has published a program letter with a summary of key unemployment insurance provisions of the CARES Act and guidance regarding temporary emergency state staffing flexibility.
Federal Communications Commission
The FCC has adopted a $200 million telehealth program to support provider responding to the COVID-19 crisis. The money will help providers purchase telecommunications, broadband connectivity, and devices necessary for providing telehealth services. See the FCC’s news release and its formal report and order.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has issued new guidelines for the use of personal protective equipment when caring for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
- CDC has published interim infection prevention and control recommendations for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
- The CDC has updated its infection prevention and control guidance for health care facilities.
- CDC has issued interim guidance on the collection and submission of postmortem specimens from persons with known or suspected COVID-19.
- The CDC has published guidance for certifying deaths due to COVID-19.
Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA has introduced updated guidance to address the urgent need for blood during the COVID-19 pandemic, concluding that some current donor eligibility criteria can be modified without compromising the safety of the blood supply.
- The FDA has published a final guidance document for industry addressing alternative procedures for blood and blood components during the COVID-19 emergency.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- CMS has issued new guidance to long-term care facilities to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- CMS has clarified for providers that the expanded ability to bill for telehealth services does not include any billing changes for institutional claims. This corrects a prior message that appeared in CMS’s March 31, 2020 Special Edition.
Department of Health and Human Services
- HHS’s Office of Civil Rights has announced that it will not impose penalties for violations of certain provisions of the HIPAA privacy rule against health care providers or their business associates for the good faith uses and disclosures of protected health information by business associates for public health and health oversight activities during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. See the Office of Civil Rights announcement of this temporary policy and a pre-publication version of the formal notice of this policy that will appear shortly in the Federal Register.
- Along with the Department of Justice, HHS has announced that the two agencies have ordered the distribution of medical supplies that in their judgment were being hoarded. The federal government paid fair market value for 192,000 N95 masks, nearly 600,000 pairs of medical grade gloves, and 130,000 other types of masks, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels, and other supplies and is sending these supplies to the New Jersey Department of Health, the New York state Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The White House