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Coronavirus Update for Tuesday, February 16

The following is the latest COVID-19 information from the federal government as of 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has announced new staff appointments.  They are:

Office of the Secretary
Sean McCluskie, Chief of Staff
Anne Reid, Deputy Chief of Staff
Dawn O’Connell, Senior Counselor, COVID Response
Sarah Despres, Counselor for Public Health and Science
Kristin Avery, White House Liaison
Kathryn Alvarez, Deputy Chief of Staff, COVID Response
Perrie Briskin, Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff
David Kessler, Chief Science Officer, COVID Response
Shannon Myricks, Deputy White House Liaison
Esmeralda Orozco, Special Assistant for Scheduling
AJ Pearlman, Chief of Staff, COVID Response
Clare Pierce-Wrobel, Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff
Kashif Syed, Senior Advisor to the Executive Secretary
Lizeth Zardeneta, Executive Assistant and Briefing Book Coordinator

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
Josh Peck, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement
Ian Sams, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (COVID Response)
Kirsten Allen, National Press Secretary (COVID Response)
Zachary Dembner, Press Assistant
Sean Higgins, Press Secretary
Luisana Pérez Fernández, Press Secretary

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Legislation
Kimberly Espinosa, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislation
Kelsey Mellette, Special Assistant

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Ben Sommers, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Kacey Wulff, Chief of Staff

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration
Thomas Berry, Special Assistant

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
Max Lesko, Chief of Staff for the Surgeon General
Jessica Scruggs, Senior Advisor and Director of Scheduling and Advance for the Surgeon General

Office of the General Counsel
Lisa Barclay, Deputy General Counsel
Paul Rodriguez, Deputy General Counsel

Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs
Marvin Figueroa, Director
Yvanna Cancela, Principal Deputy Director
Destiny Gregg, Confidential Assistant

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
Micky Tripathi, National Health Information Technology Coordinator
Jordan Hefcart, Special Assistant

Office of Global Affairs
Karoun Tcholakian, Special Assistant to the Director

Administration for Community Living
Alison Barkoff, Principal Deputy Administrator
Reyma McCoy McDeid, Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities

Administration for Children and Families
Larry Handerhan, Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor
Jose Garibay Medrano, Special Assistant for the Office of Refugee Resettlement
Lanikque Howard, Director of the Office of Community Services and Senior Advisor on Asset Building
Jenifer Smyers, Chief of Staff for the Office of Refugee Resettlement

Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services
Arielle Woronoff, Director of the Office of Legislation

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Sonia Chessen, Chief of Staff

Provider Relief Fund

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

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

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

Food and Drug Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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.