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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

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09/02/2020

Congress

  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced the September legislative agenda for the House of Representatives once it returns from its summer recess the week of September 14th. The House intends to vote on a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to extend federal funding which is set to expire after September 30th. The House could try to include COVID-19 relief as part of the CR but it is not clear if it will.

White House and Federal Agencies

  • Dr. Moncef Slaoui and Dr. Matthew Hepburn wrote an article for The New England Journal of Medicine to provide an overview of the work that the White House’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS) initiative is doing to advance development, manufacturing, and distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • CMS released an additional list of FAQs to Medicare providers regarding the HHS Provider Relief Fund and the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program payments, also referred to as COVID-19 relief payments.  The FAQs provide guidance to providers on how to report provider relief fund payments, uninsured charges reimbursed through the Uninsured Program administered by Health Resources and Services Administration, and Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Forgiveness amounts.
  • The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announced that it has awarded 11 grants with a total first-year value of approximately $17 million to establish the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID). The global network will involve multidisciplinary investigations into how and where viruses and other pathogens emerge from wildlife and spillover to cause disease in people. NIAID intends to provide approximately $82 million over 5 years to support the network.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates

Reopening, Testing and Vaccines

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said that the FDA could approve a COVID-19 vaccine before stage three clinical trials are complete.
    • Manufacturers have already begun producing some of these vaccine candidates on a “mass-scale” so that a large supply is available if they are approved by the FDA.
  • The FDA is updated its emergency use authorization (EUA) for remdesivir to allow its use for all COVID-19 cases.
  • Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will explore the feasibility of two innovative vaccine approaches that deliver the vaccine by wearable skin patch or oral option. These novel routes of administration could reduce the dependence on needles and syringes that are used to deliver vaccine via intramuscular injection.
  • A patient in Nevada could be the first American who recovered from COVID-19 to report a reinfection.