The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6.
Provider Relief Fund
- The Office of Management and Budget has issued guidance on how funds received through the Provider Relief Fund should be audited. Entities that receive government grants of more than $750,000 are subject to a single audit requirement. Because of the Provider Relief Fund, many hospitals that have never been subject to this audit requirement now must comply with it. The deadline originally was October 1 but was postponed and it has now been delayed again until June 30.
Department of Health and Human Services
- HHS announced that the CDC will provide more than $22 billion in funding to states, localities, and territories to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as directed by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. The money will be used for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment, vaccine distribution, and mitigation and will be allocated through a population-based formula. Go here to see HHS’s announcement and for links to tables that show how much money individual jurisdictions will receive for testing and vaccine distribution.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- CMS has updated its FAQ on Medicare fee-for-service billing issues with updated answers to two questions: one, starting on page 105, that explains that for any cost reporting period falling between March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, providers are granted an additional 60 days from the initial due date to file their cost reports; and another, starting on page 121, about payments for administering monoclonal antibody treatments.
- CMS has extended the 2020 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception application deadline to February 1 for performance year 2020 because of the COVID-19 emergency. Go here, to CMS’s MLN Connects online publication, and scroll down for the announcement and links to resources for learning more about the exception application and how to apply for it.
- CMS has published instructions for Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) on COVID-19 emergency declaration blanket waivers for Medicare-dependent, small rural hospitals, and sole community hospitals.
- CMS has posted a video on how providers can enroll in Medicare to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
- CMS has published a quarterly update of its Medicare home health grouper to inform providers about changes in the grouper software to reflect new COVID-19-related diagnosis codes.
- CMS has posted the first in a series of short podcasts for frontline nursing home staff. The series, “CMS Beyond the Policy: Nursing Home Series for Frontline Clinicians and Staff,” is designed to reinforce training and infection control practices in nursing homes to help combat the spread of COVID-19. To listen to the podcast, go here.
Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA has issued a statement about public discussions suggesting that health care providers could potentially reduce the amount of serum in some COVID-19 vaccines so more people can be vaccinated sooner.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has posted information about allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
- The CDC has posted a toolkit for long-term-care facilities on administering COVID-19 vaccines.
- The CDC has updated its interim guidelines for handling and processing specimens associated with COVID-19 and also has updated its interim guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens from people with COVID-19.