The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 15.

Provider Relief Fund

  • Yesterday HHS held a webinar to provide more detailed information to health care providers about its planned $20 billion CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Phase 3 general distribution. It used this toolkit during the webinar.  The deadline for applying for a Phase 3 general distribution is November 6.
  • During the webinar, providers that have received Provider Relief Fund general distributions in the past were advised that they need to submit an entirely new application to participate in Phase 3 and be eligible to receive any add-on payment that HHS distributes from the funding pool that remains after all applicants have received payments equal to two percent of patient care revenue.  There are no details available on how these potential add-on payments might be calculated.
  • During the webinar HHS offered a point of contact for stakeholders with questions about the Provider Relief Fund and payments for testing and treatment for the uninsured: its Provider Support Line at 866-569-3522 (for TYY, dial 711).


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has expanded the list of telehealth services that Medicare fee-for-service will pay for during the COVID-19 public health emergency, adding 11 new services to the Medicare telehealth services list. Medicare will begin paying for these services immediately and for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.  These new telehealth services include certain neurostimulator analysis and programming services and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services.  Go here to see CMS’s announcement of the newly authorized telehealth services and here for a link to the list of the new services and their billing codes.
  • CMS has published the document “State Medicaid and CHIP Telehealth Toolkit: Policy Considerations for States Expanding Use of Telehealth” and subtitled it “COVID-19 Version.”  The document explains thatThis guide is intended to help states identify which aspects of their statutory and regulatory infrastructure may impede the rapid deployment of telehealth capabilities in their Medicaid program.  As such, this guide will describe each of these policy areas and the challenges they present below.  The toolkit concludes with a list of questions state policymakers can use to ensure they have explored and/or addressed potential obstacles.”  It also notes that “CMS encourages states to consider telehealth options as a flexibility in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing access to care.  States are encouraged to facilitate clinically appropriate care within the Medicaid program using telehealth technology to deliver services covered by the state.”  CMS also has published a supplement to this guide, “State Medicaid & CHIP Telehealth Toolkit:  Policy Considerations for States Expanding Use of Telehealth,” and subtitled it “COVID-19 Version:  Supplement #1.”  This document is dated October 14, 2020.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC has updated its guidance on point-of-care COVID-19 testing.