The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Friday, February 19.
The White House
- The White House announced that it is increasing the vaccine supply sent weekly to states to 13.5 million doses a week. This is a 57 percent increase over weekly shipments a month ago.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- CMS has updated its “COVID-19 Vaccines and Monoclonal Antibodies” web page. The page includes:
- information about Medicare Part B payments for COVID-19 and certain monoclonal antibodies during the public health emergency
- information about payment allowances and effective dates for COVID-19 vaccines and their administration
- information about payment allowances and effective dates for COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies and their administration
- links to other COVID-19 vaccine resources, monoclonal antibody resources, and Medicare coding and payment information
- CMS has updated the FAQ for its Acute Hospital Care At Home Program and also updated its list of hospitals eligible to participate in that program.
- CMS’s Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office has sent a memo to all dual-eligible special needs plans, PACE organizations, and Medicare-Medicaid plans to remind them “…of their unique opportunities to ensure equitable access and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.” See that memo here.
Department of Health and Human Services
- HHS has announced new actions to expand COVID-19 testing capacity across the country, improve the availability of tests, and better prepare for the threat of variants. The $1.6 billion in new spending includes $650 million to expand testing in K-8 schools and underserved congregate settings, such as homeless shelters; $815 million to increase domestic manufacturing of testing supplies and raw materials; and $200 million to expand genomic sequencing capabilities to facilitate identifying new variants of COVID-19. Learn more in this HHS news release and this White House fact sheet.
- HHS’s Office of the Inspector General has updated its FAQ on how it will exercise its administrative enforcement authority on matters directly connected to the COVID-19 emergency with a new question about whether a non-provider philanthropic entity may contract to provide certain administrative services to a health care provider related to the operation of a COVID-19 vaccination site and be compensated on a per-vaccine basis. See the new OIG question and answer here.
HHS and CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls
HHS Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice
HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response sponsors COVID-19 Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice that are interactive virtual learning sessions that seek to create a peer-to-peer learning network in which clinicians from the U.S. and abroad who have experience treating patients with COVID-19 share their challenges and successes. These webinar topics are covered every week:
- EMS: Patient Care and Operations (Mondays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
- Critical Care: Lifesaving Treatment and Clinical Operations (Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
- Emergency Department: Patient Care and Clinical Operations (Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
CMS Stakeholder Calls
CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information about the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the health care community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer participants an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.
CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Calls
Tuesday, February 23 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2528725
Tuesday, March 16 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4177586
Audio Webcast link: go here
Tuesday, April 6 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)
Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2769397
Audio Webcast link: go here
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has updated its guidance about the assessment of risk and application of work restrictions for asymptomatic health care workers with potential exposure to patients, visitors, or other health care workers who have been infected with COVID-19. The updated guidance clarifies that work exclusion of asymptomatic health care workers with a higher-risk exposure who have recovered from COVID-19 in the prior three months may not be necessary.
- The CDC has updated its guidance on when to end home isolation for people who have contracted COVID-19.
- The CDC has updated its interim guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens for COVID-19.
- The CDC has posted a toolkit for educating communities and community-based organizations about the importance of receiving COVID-19 vaccines.
- The CDC has published a report on the results of safety monitoring during the first month of delivery of COVID-19 vaccines.
- The CDC has published information about reported adverse events associated with COVID-19 vaccinations.
- The CDC has posted guidance on providing COVID-19 vaccinations to homebound individuals.
- The CDC has updated its guidance on COVID-19 vaccinations for people with disabilities. It also has updated its information about the potential implications of COVID-19 for people with disabilities.
- The CDC has published research on the decline in receiving non-COVID-19 vaccinations among Medicare beneficiaries during the current public health emergency.
- The CDC has updated its guidance on why, when, and where to wear masks to protect against COVID-19.
Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA has concluded that there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or a likely source of viral transmission of COVID-19. See the FDA’s explanation.