The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, August 14.
Provider Relief Fund
HHS announced that it will distribute $1.4 billion in CARES Act Provider Relief Fund grants to nearly 80 free-standing children’s hospitals. Qualifying children’s hospitals must be either an exempt hospital under CMS’s Medicare inpatient prospective payment system or be a HRSA-defined Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education facility. Eligible hospitals will receive 2.5 percent of their net revenue from patient care. Qualifying free-standing children’s hospitals will begin receiving grants next week. Learn more from this HHS news release.
Department of Health and Human Services
HHS is giving $6.5 million to two commercial diagnostic laboratories to expand capacity to conduct up to four million additional COVID-19 tests a month. That capacity increase should be seen in early October. Learn more from this HHS news release.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
The CMS online publication MLN Matters features the article “Quarterly Update for Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule and Laboratory Services Subject to Reasonable Charge Payment” for clinical diagnostic laboratories that seek reimbursement for services provided to Medicare patients. The article includes policy updates on payments for COVID-19 specimen collection, ordering requirements for tests, coverage for serology tests, payments for tests processed with high-throughput technologies, and more as well as fees and new billing codes. Find it here. The American Medical Association also has published a special report on new COVID-19 CPT coding. Find it here.
Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA has established a new web page with information about importing certain medical devices during the COVID-19 pandemic. It describes procedures for importing devices that have been issued emergency use authorizations and for devices for which an enforcement discretion policy has been published in guidance.
- The FDA recently cleared for marketing in the United States a surgical gown (K200977) and three polymer patient examination gloves (K201530, K201531, K193666). These gloves and gowns are intended to be worn for medical purposes to provide a barrier against potentially infectious materials and other contaminants, including for use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for commercial equipment that provides continuous renal replacement therapy to treat low weight and low blood volume patients or patients who have acute renal failure, fluid overload, or both as a result of COVID-19 and who cannot tolerate a larger extracorporeal circuit volume in an acute-care environment.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has updated its interim laboratory biosafety guidelines for handling and processing specimens associated with COVID-19.
- The CDC has published a new analysis of the value of facility-wide testing for preventing infections in nursing homes.
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.