The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2.
- The White House has posted a transcript of the March 1 press briefing provided by its COVID-19 response team and public health officials.
Department of Health and Human Services
- HHS has announced a new round of appointments to positions in the department. The new appointees are:
Office of the Secretary
Rachel Pryor, Counselor for Health Policy
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
Florence Elizabeth “Beth” Lynk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (Health Care)
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Legislation
Steven “Jeff” Hild, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation (Human Services)
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Sabrina Bousbar, Special Assistant (COVID Response)
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
Sarah Boateng, Chief of Staff
Adam Beckman, Special Advisor to the Surgeon General
Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs
Sherice Perry, Senior Advisor for the Equity Task Force
Office of Global Affairs
Loyce Pace, Director of Global Affairs
Office of Refugee Resettlement
Cindy Huang, Director
Office of Civil Rights
Laura Durso, Chief of Staff
Stephanie Akpa, Senior Advisor
Administration for Children and Families
Jennifer Cannistra, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy
JooYeun Chang, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bernadine Futrell, Director of the Office of Head Start
Katie Hamm, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development
Debra Johnson, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs
Aysha Schomburg, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Elizabeth Fowler, Deputy Administrator and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Director
Food and Drug Administration
Andi Fristedt, Deputy Commissioner for Policy
Health Resources and Services Administration
Jordan Grossman, Chief of Staff
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- In cooperation with the Department of Labor and the Department of the Treasury, CMS has issued new guidance removing barriers to COVID-19 diagnostic testing and vaccinations and strengthening requirements that plans and insurers cover diagnostic testing without cost-sharing. This guidance makes clear that private group health plans and insurers generally cannot use medical screening criteria to deny coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic tests for individuals with health coverage who are asymptomatic and who have no known or suspected exposure to COVID-19. Such testing must be covered without cost-sharing, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements imposed by the plan or insurers. Learn more from the CMS news release announcing the new guidance and from the guidance itself.
- In response to “extreme and uncontrollable circumstances” brought on by the COVID-19 emergency, CMS will issue neutral payment adjustments in 2022 to clinicians participating as individuals in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) who do not submit program year 2020 data. CMS has implemented other flexibilities in the MIPS program as well. Learn more from this CMS document.
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, 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 information about adverse effects from COVID-19 vaccines.
- The CDC has updated its toolkit for the employers of essential workers to help persuade those workers to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
- The CDC has updated its data on COVID-19 variant cases in the U.S.
- The CDC has published the results of an independent evaluation of COVID-19 antibody test performance.
- The CDC has updated its guidance for employers and businesses responding to COVID-19.
- The CDC has updated its suggested strategies for how health care providers can mitigate staffing shortages during the COVID-19 emergency.
Food and Drug Administration
The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (often referred to as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
National Institutes of Health
The NIH has halted a clinical trial evaluating the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 convalescent plasma in treating emergency department patients who developed mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19 after concluding that “…while the convalescent plasma intervention caused no harm, it was unlikely to benefit this group of patients.”
Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service has published a report on unauthorized immigrants’ access to COVID-19 vaccines.