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Coronavirus Update for Wednesday, January 13

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 13.

Provider Relief Fund

  • HHS has updated its Provider Relief Fund FAQ with nine new or modified questions on pages 12-13, 13, 15 (three questions), 40-41, 41, and 56.  The new and modified questions address
    • how changes of ownership affect providers’ ability to receive Provider Relief Fund grants and nursing home quality incentive payments;
    • answer questions about audit deadlines and extensions;
    • and describe the methodology for calculating Phase 3 distributions and the timing and size of those distributions.

Providers that have received past distributions and that believe they are eligible for Phase 3 distributions should review the updated FAQ carefully.

Department of Defense

  • The Department of Defense, which is playing a leading role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, has posted a brief document titled “Officials Discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Deliveries and Prioritization Criteria.”  The document outlines the status of vaccine distribution efforts to date, offers data on the number of vaccines that have been distributed and administered, and notes the expansion of vaccine administration to individuals beyond those considered to be the highest priority for receiving vaccines.

Department of Health and Human Services

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus Update for Monday, January 4, 2021

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Monday, January 4.

Provider Relief Fund

  • HHS has updated its CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ with six changes, all dated 12/28/2020.  They can be found on pages 6 (accounting for Provider Relief Fund distributions), 16 (use of Provider Relief Fund grant money), 40 (HHS’s methodology for calculating Phase 3 distributions), 41 (two changes:  one about how much providers should expect to receive from the Phase 3 distribution and the other about when providers can expect to receive their Phase 3 distributions), and 56 (addressing nursing home infection control incentive payments).

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Vaccines

Clinical Matters

Other CDC Activities

Department of Labor

  • The Department of Labor has issued new guidance to states on unemployment insurance programs based on the unemployment insurance provisions contained in the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act of 2020, which is part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.  Go here to see the department’s announcement about this guidance and go here to see the guidance itself and related documents.
  • The Department of Labor has issued guidance on the expiration of paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave for COVID-19.  Go here to see the department’s announcement about the new guidance and go here for an FAQ on family and medical leave related to COVID-19.

NASH Asks HHS for Provider Relief Fund Money for Private Safety-Net Hospitals

The federal government should direct CARES Act Provider Relief Fund money specifically to private safety-net hospitals, NASH wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.

Some private safety-net hospitals, NASH noted in its letter, have not received assistance from any targeted Provider Relief Fund distributions.  To rectify this, NASH urged administration officials to “…designate a portion of the remaining Provider Relief Fund money for this purpose…” and to distribute that money to

…hospitals eligible 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 did not receive funding from any other targeted safety-net distribution.

See NASH’s letter here.

NASH Seeks Delay in Provider Relief Fund Attestation

NASH has asked federal regulators to extend the June 3 deadline for attesting to the terms and conditions for receiving general distribution grants from the CARES Act’s Provider Relief Fund.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, NASH urges their agencies to

…spend the next month developing definitive, consistent answers to questions that may arise as hospitals prepare to attest to the terms and conditions for receiving Provider Relief Fund grants and to submit supporting data to document their need for the grants they have already received.

See NASH’s letter here.