Coronavirus Update for Friday, February 19

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Friday, February 19.

The White House

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has updated its “COVID-19 Vaccines and Monoclonal Antibodies” web page.  The page includes:
  • information about Medicare Part B payments for COVID-19 and certain monoclonal antibodies during the public health emergency
  • information about payment allowances and effective dates for COVID-19 vaccines and their administration
  • information about payment allowances and effective dates for COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies and their administration
  • links to other COVID-19 vaccine resources, monoclonal antibody resources, and Medicare coding and payment information
  • CMS has updated the FAQ for its Acute Hospital Care At Home Program and also updated its list of hospitals eligible to participate in that program.
  • CMS’s Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office has sent a memo to all dual-eligible special needs plans, PACE organizations, and Medicare-Medicaid plans to remind them “…of their unique opportunities to ensure equitable access and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine among individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.”  See that memo here.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has announced new actions to expand COVID-19 testing capacity across the country, improve the availability of tests, and better prepare for the threat of variants.  The $1.6 billion in new spending includes $650 million to expand testing in K-8 schools and underserved congregate settings, such as homeless shelters; $815 million to increase domestic manufacturing of testing supplies and raw materials; and $200 million to expand genomic sequencing capabilities to facilitate identifying new variants of COVID-19.  Learn more in this HHS news release and this White House fact sheet.
  • HHS’s Office of the Inspector General has updated its FAQ on how it will exercise its administrative enforcement authority on matters directly connected to the COVID-19 emergency with a new question about whether a non-provider philanthropic entity may contract to provide certain administrative services to a health care provider related to the operation of a COVID-19 vaccination site and be compensated on a per-vaccine basis.  See the new OIG question and answer here.

HHS and CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

HHS Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice

HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response sponsors COVID-19 Clinical Rounds Peer-to-Peer Virtual Communities of Practice that are interactive virtual learning sessions that seek to create a peer-to-peer learning network in which clinicians from the U.S. and abroad who have experience treating patients with COVID-19 share their challenges and successes.  These webinar topics are covered every week:

  • EMS:  Patient Care and Operations (Mondays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
  • Critical Care:  Lifesaving Treatment and Clinical Operations (Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)
  • Emergency Department:  Patient Care and Clinical Operations (Thursdays, 12:00-1:00 PM eastern)

Go here for information about signing up to participate in the sessions and go here for access to materials and video recordings of past sessions.

CMS 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 23 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM (eastern)

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

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

  • The FDA has concluded that there is no credible evidence of food or food packaging associated with or a likely source of viral transmission of COVID-19.  See the FDA’s explanation.