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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

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05/05/2020

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Key Updates:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began distributing Provider Relief Fund payments to hospitals in high impact areas and to hospitals and providers in rural areas. The distribution includes $12 billion to facilities admitting large numbers of COVID-19 patients and $10 billion to providers in rural areas.
    • HHS is distributing $12 billion to 395 hospitals who provided inpatient care for 100 or more COVID-19 patients through April 10, 2020. $2 billion of this funding will be distributed to these hospitals based on their Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share and uncompensated care payments. These 395 hospitals accounted for 71 percent of COVID-19 inpatient admissions reported to HHS from nearly 6,000 hospitals around the country. Hospitals are paid a fixed amount per COVID-19 inpatient admission, with an additional amount taking into account their Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share and uncompensated care payments.
    • Recipients of the $10 billion rural distribution will include, rural acute care general hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Community Health Centers located in rural areas.
      • Hospitals and RHCs will each receive a minimum base payment plus a percent of their annual expenses. All clinical, non-hospital sites will receive a minimum of $100,000, with additional payment based on operating expenses. Rural acute care general hospitals and CAHs will receive a of $1,000,000, with additional payment based on operating expenses.
      • Eligible providers will begin receiving funds in the coming days via direct deposit, based on the physical address of the facilities as reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), regardless of their affiliation with organizations based in urban areas.
  • The Senate is back in session. The House could be back in session as early as next week.
    • The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP committee will hold a hearing on May 7th to discuss COVID-19 vaccine research efforts. National institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and Biomedical Advanced Research And Development Authority (BARDA) acting Director Gary Disbrow will testify.
    • The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing on the government’s coronavirus response on Wednesday.
  • Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said that the federal government will control how treatments of Remdesivir are distributed. Last week, Gilead announced positive trial results that show its anti-viral drug can increase recovery time from COVID-19, however it did not have an impact on mortality.
    • The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) believes the drug should be valued at $4,460. Gilead is currently providing treatment courses to the government for free but at some point it is expected to begin charging the government. Gilead has not said anything about what that price would be. ICER is influential but its price assessment does not mean that is what Gilead will charge.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for an antibody test developed by Roche. Previously authorized antibody tests have been criticized as inaccurate. Roche claims this test is extremely accurate.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) listed its upcoming stakeholder calls for the week on its website.
  • The U.S. Treasury Department outlined how it will finance the government’s coronavirus expenses with an additional $3 trillion in borrowing.
  • The NIH announced a new study that will research the COVID-19 infection rate among children.