Healthcare Business Management Association - HBMA
Leading the Business of Healthcare Login
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) - HBMA Healthcare Business Management Association

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

Share
12/15/2020

HBMA COVID-19 Federal Response Update

Congress

  • A bipartisan group of legislators officially introduced their $908 billion COVID-19 relief legislation which seeks to strike a compromise between competing proposals championed by Republicans and Democrats.
    • Their proposal is split into two different bills. State and local funding and liability protections for businesses are included as their own bill. These are the two provisions that both parties have yet to agree to during negotiations. Splitting these provisions allows congress to vote on the controversial provisions separately from the provisions that have broader bipartisan support.
    • The bill provides new funding for the Provider Relief Fund the Paycheck Protection Program.
    • The bill includes $6 billion in funding to help states distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
    • It would extend federal unemployment benefits and add $300 to weekly unemployment checks issued by states. It extends a temporary moratorium on evicting renters.
    • It does not include another round of $1,200 payments to taxpayers who earn below a certain income threshold. 
  • During a Senate hearing, FedEx and UPS expressed confidence that they can handle the logistics for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Economy, Vaccine, Testing and Treatment

  • On Friday, December 11th, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. This is the first vaccine the FDA approved for COVID-19. It is approved for people over the age of 16.
  • Vaccinations began today, starting with frontline healthcare workers.
    • Here is a reminder about how the new mRNA vaccine technology works.
  • The FDA is clarifying that the vaccine does not pose an allergy risk for patients unless they have an allergy to the specific components of the vaccine.
  • During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), Medicare will cover and pay for the administration of the vaccine (when furnished consistent with the EUA). CMS provided updated payment and HCPCS Level I CPT code structure for specific COVID-19 vaccine information. The guidelines specify to only bill for the vaccine administration codes when you submit claims to Medicare; don’t include the vaccine product codes when vaccines are free.
  • The FDA is expected approve Moderna’s Vaccine candidate as early as the end of this week. The federal government outlined its plan for how it will distribute Moderna’s Vaccine once it is approved. 
  • General Perna from Operation Warp Speed published an Op-Ed outlining the vaccine distribution process.
  • HHS launched a new $250 million ad campaign to boost public confidence in the vaccine. Public health officials such as NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci will be the face of the campaign.
  • Researchers have identified five genes that may be associated with severe COVID-19 symptoms. Identifying these genes could help researchers target new treatments.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates