Coronavirus Update for Thursday, January 21

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 21.

President Signs Executive Orders

Late this afternoon President Biden signed a series of executive orders and actions to implement his administration’s approach to addressing COVID-19.  The following is a look at the orders and what they say.

See all of the executive orders and actions and learn more in the administration’s new document “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.”

The Biden Health Care Team

As the Biden administration takes office, the following is a list of its agency health care team:

  • Xavier Becerra, nominated to be Secretary of HHS (awaits confirmation)
  • Andrea Palm, nominated to be Deputy Secretary (awaits confirmation)
  • Dr. Rachel Levine, nominated to be Assistant Secretary (awaits confirmation)
  • Sean McCluskie, HHS chief of staff
  • Dr. Vivek Murthy, nominated to be Surgeon General (awaits confirmation)
  • Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC
  • Micky Tripathi, director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT
  • Dr. Francis Collins, NIH director

Working in acting capacities are:

  • Norris Cochran, currently Assistant Secretary of Budget, is Acting Secretary
  • Liz Richter, acting CMS Administrator
  • Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting director of the FDA

The new administration’s COVID-19 team:

  • Jeff Zients, COVID-19 coordinator
  • David Kessler, chief science officer of COVID Response
  • Rosa Po, COVID response team deputy chief of staff
  • Andy Slavitt, senior advisor to the COVID response coordinator
  • Vidur Sharma, policy advisor for testing
  • Ben Wakana, deputy director of strategic communications and engagement
  • Dr. B. Cameron Webb, senior policy advisor for COVID-19 equity
  • Amy Chang, policy advisor

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS’s Office of Civil Rights has announced that it is exercising its discretion in how it applies HIPAA’s  privacy, security, and breach notification rules and will not impose penalties for non-compliance against covered health care providers or their business associates in connection with the good-faith use of online or web-based scheduling applications for the scheduling of individual appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Go here to see the Federal Register announcement of this policy.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

CMS COVID-19 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, February 2  at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  4956655

Audio Webcast link:  go here

Tuesday, February 23 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)

Toll Free Attendee Dial In:  833-614-0820; Access Passcode:  2528725

Audio Webcast link:  go here

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

Food and Drug Administration

American Medical Association

  • The American Medical Association has created new CPT codes for a new, as-yet unapproved COVID-19 vaccine under development by Janssen Pharmaceutica, a division of Johnson & Johnson.  Go here to see the AMA’s announcement and here for a more comprehensive summary of COVID-19 vaccine codes.