|Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)|
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update
HBMA COVID-19 Federal Response Update
- 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
- CDC updated information to help you understand how your COVID-19 prevention and control strategies are working among different populations.
- CDC updated information for workplaces and businesses as they begin to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19 as they reopen or continue to operate their businesses.
- CDC updated information available to learn about underlying health and social inequities that put many racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick, having more severe illness, and dying from COVID-19.
- The CDC says to stop the spread of COVID-19 and move toward greater health equity, we must work together to ensure resources are available to maintain and manage physical and mental health, including easy access to information, affordable testing, and medical and mental health care.
- CDC updated information for people considering holiday travel. This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe.
- CDC updated toolkits to combat COVID-19 for people 15 to 17, people 18 to 24, clinicians, and colleges and universities and social media content.
- CMS’s new COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment infographic clarifies coverage, including cost-sharing, & expected payment to providers for the products & treatment administration for Medicare, Medicaid, & the ACA marketplace plans.