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Coronavirus Update for Wednesday, September 16

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS and the Department of Defense released documents outlining their strategy for delivering COVID-19 vaccine doses. The documents provide a strategic distribution overview along with an interim playbook for state, tribal, territorial, and local public health programs and their partners on how to plan and operationalize a vaccination response to COVID-19 within their respective jurisdictions. Learn more from the following documents:
  • HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has published a compilation of considerations for long-term-care facilities based on lessons learned during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic accompanied by resources to inform planning and response efforts.
  • HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will hold a series of webinars on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting children. See this notice for dates, times, and registration information.
  • The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response holds weekly peer-to-peer clinical rounds webinars during which providers share experiences and respond to questions about their COVID-19 response efforts. Separate webinars cover EMS patient care and operations, critical care lifesaving treatment and clinical operations, and emergency department patient care and clinical operations.  Go here to subscribe to notices about the webinars and go here for information about and access to past webinars.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to its 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 attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Call

Tuesday, September 22 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2409459

To join call, go here.

Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19

Friday, September 18 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4446447

To join call, go here.

Home Health and Hospice Call

Tuesday, September 22 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1169237
To join call, go here.

Nursing Homes Call

Friday, September 18 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4446447

To join call, go here.

Dialysis Organizations Call

Wednesday, September 23 at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7026727
To join call, go here.

Nurses Call

Thursday, September 24 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5872398
To join call, here.

Conference lines are limited, so CMS encourages interested parties to join via audio webcast.  To listen to the audio files and read the transcripts for these and past COVID-19 Stakeholder calls, visit CMS’s Podcast and Transcripts page.

Department of Labor

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA will host virtual town halls on September 23 and September 30 for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The purpose of this event is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for COVID-19.  Learn more about the town halls, when they will be held, and how interested parties can participate in this FDA notice.
  • The FDA will host a webinar on gowns and apparel for use by health care personnel on September 29 from 12:00 pm-1:00 pm (eastern). Go here for log-in information, the slide presentation that will be used during the webinar, and access to resources from past webinars on this subject.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Friday, September 11

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government and others as of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, September 11.

Provider Relief Fund

  • Reminder: Applications are currently open for Phase 2 general distribution funding for Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), dental providers, certain Medicare providers, hospitals that have changes in ownership, and assisted living facilities.  All groups have until September 13, 2020 to submit their tax identification number for validation and apply for funding from the phase 2 general distribution.  Go here for more information.
  • HHS has updated its Provider Relief Fund FAQ with one modified question marked 9/4/2020 on page 32 of the document. The revised response addresses the tax treatment by parent companies of grants awarded to subsidiaries with separate National Provider Identifiers.

American Medical Association

  • The American Medical Association has published an update of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set that includes two code additions for reporting medical services sparked by the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more from this AMA announcement.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has published a request for information seeking stakeholder input regarding the ability of CLIA-accredited commercial, academic, medical center, and public health laboratories to feasibly perform more COVID-19 testing if additional testing instruments were made available to them. Interested parties have ten days to submit written comments.
  • HHS has issued new guidance authorizing state-licensed pharmacists to order and administer, and state-licensed or registered pharmacy interns acting under the supervision of the qualified pharmacist to administer, COVID-19 vaccinations to persons ages three or older, subject to certain requirements. See HHS’s announcement of the new guidance and go here to see the guidance itself.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has posted the document “New COVID 19 Testing and Reporting Requirements” that collects and summarizes the latest testing, training, and data-reporting requirements for nursing homes.
  • In late August, CMS published a regulation that required nursing homes to test their staff for COVID-19; that regulation included other testing and reporting requirements as well. The frequency of such testing was to be tied to the degree of community spread of COVID-19, with the details of how that would work to be announced later.  CMS has now published the county-by-county positivity rates on which the frequency of nursing home testing will be based.  Find those rates here.
  • CMS has updated its tip sheets to help providers understand its public reporting strategy for quality programs during the COVID-19 emergency.  Find tip sheets for the following types of providers:
    • For long-term-care hospitals, here and here.
    • For skilled nursing facilities, here and here.
    • For inpatient rehabilitation faculties, here and here.
    • For home health providers, here and here.
  • CMS has published updated provider-specific fact sheets on new COVID-19-related waivers and flexibilities for home health agencies, ambulances, and durable medical equipment.

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to its 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 attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Call

Tuesday, September 22 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2409459

To join call, go here.

Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19

Friday, September 18 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4446447

To join call, go here.

Home Health and Hospice Call

Tuesday, September 22n at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1169237
To join call, go here.

Nursing Homes Call

Friday, September 18 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4446447

To join call, go here.

Dialysis Organizations Call

Wednesday, September 23 at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7026727
To join call, go here.

Thursday, September 24 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5872398
To join call, here.

Conference lines are limited, so CMS encourages interested parties to join via audio webcast.  To listen to the audio files and read the transcripts for these and past COVID-19 Stakeholder calls, visit CMS’s Podcast and Transcripts page.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Friday, September 4

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 12:15 p.m. on Friday, September 4.

Provider Relief Fund

  • Reminder: Applications are currently open for Phase 2 general distribution funding for Medicaid, Medicaid managed care, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), dental providers, certain Medicare providers, and assisted living facilities.  All groups have until September 13, 2020 to submit their tax identification number for validation and apply for funding from the phase 2 general distribution.  Go here for more information.
  • HHS announced that assisted living facilities may apply for funding under the Provider Relief Fund phase 2 general distribution allocation. Go here to see HHS’s announcement.
  • HHS has announced some of the details of an upcoming $2 billion Provider Relief Fund performance-based incentive payment distribution to nursing homes. HHS will measure nursing homes against a baseline level of infection in the community where individual facilities are located.  Learn more from HHS’s announcement of this distribution.
  • HHS has updated its Provider Relief Fund FAQ with new and modified questions.
    • Changes marked 9/1/2020 can be found on pages 22, 23, 29, and 32. The new information focuses largely on the newly announced distribution for assisted living facilities, criteria for eligibility, and applying to participate in the distribution.
    • One change, marked 9/2/2020 and on page 23, describes how HHS identified assisted living facilities that are eligible to receive distributions from the Provider Relief Fund.
    • Five changes, marked 9/3/2020 and found on pages 2, 9, and 17, address HHS requests for additional financial information, how to report Provider Relief Fund grants on Medicare cost reports, and the responsibility of parent organizations to send to their subsidiaries grants intended for those subsidiaries.

Find all of these changes in the Provider Relief Fund FAQ.

American Medical Association

  • The American Medical Association has updated codes and guidelines for office and other outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) services. Some of the changes were introduced earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 emergency.  The AMA has recommended to CMS that it implement these changes on January 1, 2021.  Learn more in this AMA news release.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has updated the article “Quarterly Update for Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule and Laboratory Services Subject to Reasonable Charge Payment” in its online publication MLN Matters to reflect an update that includes additional COVID-19 codes. Some of those codes took effect on August 10 and others take effect on October 1.
  • CMS has updated the article “Update to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) Diagnosis Codes for Vaping Related Disorder and Diagnosis and Procedure Codes for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)” in its online publication MLN Matters to include new procedure codes.

Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

 To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for Monday, August 31

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Monday, August 31.

Provider Relief Fund

  • The Department of Health and Human Services has updated its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ.
    • Six questions on pages 30 and 31, marked “Modified 8/25/2020,” primarily address submitting requests for phase 2 distributions.
    • Five questions on pages 9, 22-23, 23, 32-33, and 33 are marked “Modified 8/27/2020” or “Added 8/27/2020” and address applying for phase 2 distributions.
    • Five questions, on pages 44 and 45, address the upcoming nursing home infection control distribution and are marked “Added 8/27/2020.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to its 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 attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Call

Tuesday, September 8 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 6196045

To join call, go here.

Tuesday, September 22 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 2409459

To join call, go here.

Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19

Friday, September 4 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 3374248

To join call, go here.

Friday, September 18 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4446447

To join call, go here.

Home Health and Hospice Call

Tuesday, September 8 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820 Access Passcode: 4165236
To join call, go here.

Tuesday, September 22n at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1169237
To join call, go here.

Nursing Homes Call

Wednesday, September 9 at 4:30 – 5:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5475686
To join call, go here.

Friday, September 18 at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 4446447

To join call, go here.

Dialysis Organizations Call

Wednesday, September 9 at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 6925269
To join call, go here.

Wednesday, September 23 at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 7026727
To join call, go here.

Nurses Call

Thursday, September 10 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5767207
To join call, go here.

Thursday, September 24 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll-free attendee dial-in: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5872398
To join call, here.

Conference lines are limited, so CMS encourages interested parties to join via audio webcast.  To listen to the audio files and read the transcripts for these and past COVID-19 Stakeholder calls, visit CMS’s Podcast and Transcripts page.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has entered into a contract to purchase 150 million units of a rapid point-of-care COVID-19 test.  Go here to see HHS’s news release announcing the contract.

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has broadened its emergency authorization (EUA) for remdesivir to encompass treatment for all hospitalized adult and pediatric patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 regardless of the severity of their illness.  Learn more from the FDA’s news release announcing the new policy and from the emergency use authorization itself.  In addition, the FDA has updated its fact sheet on the drug.
  • The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on October 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (eastern) to discuss the development, authorization, and licensure of vaccines to prevent COVID-19.  Learn more from the FDA’s announcement about the meeting and go here for information about how to join the meeting on the web.
  • The FDA has approved an abbreviated new drug application for dexmedetomidine hydrochloride in 0.9 percent sodium chloride injection (ANDA 212571), indicated for the sedation of initially intubated and mechanically ventilated patients during treatment in an intensive-care setting as well as the sedation of non-intubated patients prior to and/or during surgical and other procedures.

Department of Labor

  • The Department of Labor has posted an FAQ for workers and employers about qualifying for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  The new FAQ explains eligibility for paid leave relative to the varied formats and schedules schools have announced as they plan to reopen, including blending in-person with distance learning.  The department is providing this information to explain the benefits and protections available under both the paid sick leave and the expanded family and medical leave provisions of Families First law.  Go here for the department’s announcement of this posting and here to see the FAQ.

Government Accountability Office

  • The GAO has published “COVID-19:  Brief Update on Initial Federal Response to the Pandemic.”  Find it here.

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Coronavirus Update for Thursday, August 27

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 27.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has provided new guidance on completing Medicare reports: specifically, how providers should report Provider Relief Fund payments, uninsured charges reimbursed through the uninsured program administered by HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration, and Small Business Administration loan forgiveness amounts.  The new information can be found in CMS’s updated COVID-19 FAQ on Medicare fee-for-service billing, in questions 2 through 8 on pages 99-102.
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act waives cost-sharing under Medicare Part B (coinsurance and deductible amounts) for COVID-19 testing-related services through the end of the public health emergency. CMS provided guidance in April on how to code for testing-related services and has updated that guidance in a revised version of the MLN Matters article “Medicare Fee-For-Service Response to the Public Health Emergency on the Coronavirus (COVID-19)” with information about the use of HCPCS codes.
  • CMS has posted guidance for implementing its new testing requirements for nursing homes and data reporting requirements for laboratories; this guidance was promised when the agency announced that it would institute new requirements but did not specify those requirements at the time. The nursing home guidance outlines steps that facilities must take under the new testing requirements, including instruction on terms of frequency, reporting, documentation, and other requirements and a revised facility survey tool for program compliance.  For resources:

Provider Relief Fund

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for the first antigen test where results can be read directly from the testing card, a design similar to some pregnancy tests. This test, which would be administered by a health care provider and not the patient, does not require laboratory analysis and yields results in 15 minutes.  This is the test being described in the press as a $5 test.  Learn more from this FDA news release and the FDA’s emergency use authorization.

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Coronavirus Update for Wednesday, August 26

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26.

Provider Relief Fund

  • The deadline to apply for General Distribution Phase 2 Provider Relief Funds for Medicaid, CHIP, dental, and certain Medicare providers, previously this Friday, August 28, has been extended to September 13.  Entities that received payments from the initial $30 million distribution and the subsequent $20 million distribution are eligible to apply for additional funding if those payments do not equal at least two percent of their annual net patient revenue.  Go here for information about the extension of the application deadline and about eligibility and how to apply.​

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has published an interim final rule with a comment period that imposes new data reporting and testing requirements on hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers and has implications for a variety of Medicare programs.
    • Hospitals will be required to report daily on their number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, their number of unoccupied ICU beds, and their current supplies of personal protective equipment and ventilators; other reporting measures may also be added at CMS’s discretion. Meeting testing requirements will be a condition of future participation in Medicare and Medicaid.
    • Long-term-care facilities will be required to perform point-of-care testing on patients and staff at intervals that CMS has not yet established but is expected to announce later this week. They will be required to submit the results of these tests to the federal government as well. CMS will make $2.5 billion in CARES Act Provider Relief Fund grants available to help with the cost of this testing.  Such reporting will be a condition of continued participation in Medicare and Medicaid and those out of compliance also will be subject to fines.
    • CLIA laboratories will be required to report daily on their COVID-19 point-of-care testing activity and will be subject to fines for failure to comply with this requirement.

The new regulation includes provisions that affect many other aspects of the Medicare program as well.  For further information, see CMS’s news release announcing the regulation and go here to see the regulation itself.  As an interim final regulation with comment period, it will take effect as soon as it is published in the Federal Register and interested parties will have 60 days from the time of publication to submit written comments.

  • CMS has introduced a new national nursing home training program for frontline nursing home staff management. This training seeks to prepare frontline caregivers and management to be able to stop the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.  The training is now available and focuses on topics such as infection control and prevention, appropriate screening of visitors, effective cohorting of residents, safe admission and transfer of residents, and the proper use of personal protective equipment.  Learn more about the new program, including its various training modules, from this CMS news release.  In addition, interested parties can go here to register for the training; here to register for webinars on the new program; and here for an assessment tool to identify individuals’ and facilities’ specific training needs.
  • CMS has updated its document “Rural Crosswalk: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19,” a compendium of COVID-19-related provisions that CMS has issued and/or carried out during the public health emergency that affect rural health clinics (RHCs), federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), critical access hospitals (CAHs), rural acute-care prospective payment system (PPS) hospitals, and/or Medicare-certified skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS will distribute 1.5 million N95 respirators from the Strategic National Stockpile to selected nursing homes that recently reported having enough supplies for only zero to three days of operations. These respirators are meant to supplement existing supplies and will provide a seven-day supply for each recipient facility.  Learn more from this HHS news release.
  • HHS’s Office of the Inspector General has updated its schedule of audits, evaluations, and inspections involving COVID-19 (and other subjects) that are planned or already under way.

Department of Health and Human Services/Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

  • HHS’s Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has published two new documents designed to help with pandemic response.
  • The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will hold a webinar on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children. Go here for information on the September 30 webinar “Hidden Consequences:  How the COVID Pandemic is Impacting Children.”

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has approved an abbreviated new drug application for albuterol sulfate inhalation aerosol 90 mcg (base)/actuation. Albuterol is used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and has periodically been in short supply during the pandemic.

Small Business Administration

  • The Small Business Administration has published an interim final rule detailing how Paycheck Protection Program borrowers may appeal certain types of loan review decisions. The interim final rule, found here, takes effect immediately, with stakeholder comments due within 30 days.

To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

 

Coronavirus Update for Monday, August 24

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Monday, August 24.

Provider Relief Fund:  A Reminder

  • The deadline to apply for General Distribution Phase 2 Provider Relief Funds for Medicaid, CHIP, dental, and certain Medicare providers is this Friday, August 28.  Entities that received payments from the initial $30 million distribution and the subsequent $20 million distribution are eligible to apply for additional funding if those payments do not equal at least two percent of their annual net patient revenue.  Go here for information about eligibility and how to apply.​

Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has issued an informational bulletin on Medicare reimbursement strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in nursing facilities. See CMS’s news release about the informational bulletin here and go here to see the bulletin itself.

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus Update for Friday, August 21

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 21.

 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS had updated its COVID-19 emergency declaration blanket waivers and flexibilities for health care providers. Among those flexibilities, CMS has postponed the September 1, 2020 deadline for submitting wage index reclassification applications to the Medicare geographic classification review board application. The deadline has been pushed back until 15 days after the public display date of the FY 2021 IPPS/LTCH final rule by the Office of the Federal Register. See page 10 for details.
  • CMS has updated its memorandum on key components for COVID-19 management of dialysis facilities. This update clarifies CMS guidance on dialysis facility patients residing in long-term facilities, home dialysis services, and essential procedures for dialysis patients. View checklist for dialysis facilities here.

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for emergency use of a commercial test to detect nucleocapsid protein antigen to COVID-19 directly from nasal swab specimens collected from individuals who are suspected of COVID-19 by their health care provider within the first 12 days of the onset of symptoms.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Coronavirus Update for Wednesday, August 19

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 19.

Provider Relief Fund

  • HHS has updated its Provider Relief Fund FAQ with five new questions that address the application process for the new children’s hospital and safety-net providers targeted distribution. The questions can be found on pages 30, 31, 41, and 42 of the FAQ; new questions and answers are dated 8/17/2020 and 8/18/2020.

Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS announced that for inpatient acute-care hospital admissions on or after September 1, 2020 to receive the temporary 20 percent increase in the MS-DRG weighting factor required under the CARES Act, patient medical records must show a recent positive COVID-19 test, whether performed by the hospital or another entity. CMS has been identifying eligible claims by the presence of certain ICD-10 diagnosis codes but cited Medicare program integrity concerns in adding this new requirement. If upon medical record review the hospital cannot show a recent COVID-19 positive test, the additional payment will be recouped by Medicare.

CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Calls

CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to its 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 attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.

Home Health and Hospice Call

Tuesday, August 25th at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 6782346

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

CMS COVID-19 Office Hours Call

Tuesday, August 25 at 5:00 – 6:00 PM eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 8579003

Audio Webcast link:  go here.

Nursing Homes Call

Wednesday, August 26 at 4:30 – 5:00 PM eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5718509

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Dialysis Organizations Call

Wednesday, August 26 at 5:30 – 6:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1834329

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Nurses Call

Thursday, August 27 at 3:00 – 3:30 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 1556623

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Lessons from the Front Lines: COVID-19

Friday, August 21st at 12:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern

Toll Free Attendee Dial-In: 833-614-0820; Access Passcode: 5956858

Audio Webcast Link:  go here.

Conference lines are limited, so CMS encourages interested parties to join via audio webcast.  To listen to the audio files and read the transcripts for these and past COVID-19 Stakeholder calls, visit CMS’s Podcast and Transcripts page.

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) to the Yale School of Public Health for its SalivaDirect COVID-19 diagnostic test, which uses a new method of processing saliva samples when testing for COVID-19 infection.
  • The FDA is providing two new flowcharts and supporting information on respirators:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • The CDC has updated its staffing resources and guidance in state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments to intensify the coordinated response to COVID-19.

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Coronavirus Update for Friday, August 14

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, August 14.

NASH Advocacy

  • NASH wrote to HHS Secretary Azar and CMS Administrator Verma asking them to target a distribution of Provider Relief Fund money to private safety-net hospitals and others like them based on two factors:  hospitals’ eligibility for the section 340B prescription drug discount program or those with a DSH patient percentage high enough to meet the threshold for 340B eligibility for disproportionate share hospitals and that did not receive funding from any other targeted safety-net distribution.  See NASH’s letter here.

Provider Relief Fund

  • HHS announced that it will distribute $1.4 billion in CARES Act Provider Relief Fund grants to nearly 80 free-standing children’s hospitals.  Qualifying children’s hospitals must be either an exempt hospital under CMS’s Medicare inpatient prospective payment system or be a HRSA-defined Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education facility.  Eligible hospitals will receive 2.5 percent of their net revenue from patient care.  Qualifying free-standing children’s hospitals will begin receiving grants next week.  Learn more from this HHS news release.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS is giving $6.5 million to two commercial diagnostic laboratories to expand capacity to conduct up to four million additional COVID-19 tests a month.  That capacity increase should be seen in early October.  Learn more from this HHS news release.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • The CMS online publication MLN Matters features the article “Quarterly Update for Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule and Laboratory Services Subject to Reasonable Charge Payment” for clinical diagnostic laboratories that seek reimbursement for services provided to Medicare patients.  The article includes policy updates on payments for COVID-19 specimen collection, ordering requirements for tests, coverage for serology tests, payments for tests processed with high-throughput technologies, and more as well as fees and new billing codes.  Find it here.  The American Medical Association also has published a special report on new COVID-19 CPT coding.  Find it here.

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has established a new web page with information about importing certain medical devices during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It describes procedures for importing devices that have been issued emergency use authorizations and for devices for which an enforcement discretion policy has been published in guidance.
  • The FDA recently cleared for marketing in the United States a surgical gown (K200977) and three polymer patient examination gloves (K201530, K201531, K193666).  These gloves and gowns are intended to be worn for medical purposes to provide a barrier against potentially infectious materials and other contaminants, including for use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for commercial equipment that provides continuous renal replacement therapy to treat low weight and low blood volume patients or patients who have acute renal failure, fluid overload, or both as a result of COVID-19 and who cannot tolerate a larger extracorporeal circuit volume in an acute-care environment.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

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