COVID-19 in the News September 28th – October 5th
Alabama Medicaid COVID-19 Relief Grants, Public Health Emergency Extended
MMP remains committed to continuing to monitor for COVID-19 updates specific to our reader base. This week we highlight key updates spanning from September 28th through October 5th.
Resource Spotlight: CDC Guidance on Personal and Social Activities
Fall is my favorite time of year as there are so many opportunities to gather with friends and family. Unfortunately, this year is like no other in my lifetime. As you consider activities with friends and family, review guidance on the CDC website regarding personal and social activities which includes among other activities, hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
September 28, 2020: Alabama Medicaid COVID-19 Relief Grants
The state of Alabama is offering cash grants up to $15,000 for Alabama Health Care and Emergency Response Providers that meet eligibility requirements. Key things to note in this Alabama Medicaid Alert are:
- Disbursements will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis up to $35 million aggregate cap,
- The application period for the Alabama Health Care and Emergency Response Provider Grant Program will be open on noon October 5, 2020 and end at noon October 16, 2020, and
- Eligible providers for this grant program include:
- Health care providers including primary care clinics, ambulance/EMS service providers, pharmacies, physician offices, dentist offices, outpatient care centers, medical and diagnostic laboratories, home health care businesses, assisted living facilities, physical therapy offices, and other provider types.
- Emergency response providers including rescue squad organizations, volunteer fire departments, 911 boards, and other provider types.
September 29, 2020: OIG Report – National Snapshot of State Agency Approaches to Child Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The objective of this Audit was to identify what measures Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program lead agencies have undertaken “to ensure access to safe child care as well as to protect the providers rendering the care in their CCDF programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The OIG compiled responses to a questionnaire and follow-up interviews conducted with State agencies between April 30 and June 16, 2020. Not surprising to parents, the OIG found that nationally about 63 percent of child care centers and 27 percent of family child care providers had closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The OIG made no recommendations. Instead they note that the Administration for Children and Families (AFC) should “use this report to support State agencies as they work to address ongoing issues that could impede access to child care as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
October 1, 2020: HHS & The Rockefeller Foundation to Share Best Practices for Increased COVID-19 Testing
HHS announced their agreement with the Rockefeller foundation “to identify and share effective approaches for using rapid point-of-care (POC) antigen tests to screen for COVID-19 in communities, with a focus on safely reopening K-12 schools.”
October 1, 2020: Remdesivir Now Available Directly from Distributor
HHS announced in a Press Release that beginning October 1, 2020, American hospitals can purchase Veklury (remdesivir) directly from the drug’s distributor. What you need to know:
- Also on October 1st, the FDA revised the Emergency Use Authorization for Veklury removing the U.S. government’s role in directing the allocation of the drug,
- The current supply of the drug exceeds the market demand,
- The cost of the drug will not change in the transition away from U.S. government oversight. Hospitals will continue to pay no more than Gilead’s wholesale acquisition price (WAC), approximately $3,200 per treatment course, and
- AmerisourceBegen will remain the sole distributor through the end of 2020 to ensure a smooth distribution process.
October 1, 2020: MLNConnects Notification – Optimizing Health Care PPE and Supplies
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) released an Express message with new resources:
- COVID-19: Optimizing Healthcare Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Supplies webinar recording: Hear from public and private sector partners
- COVID-19 Response Assistance Field Observations webpage: Learn about institutions of higher learning, K-12 schools, minority/vulnerable populations, and critical infrastructure
- Maintaining Healthcare Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic speaker series: Listen to health care professionals share their experiences
For More Information:
- ASPR TRACIE Fact Sheet
October 1, 2020: $20 Billion in New Phase 3 Provider Relief Funding
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $20 billion in new funding for providers and can begin applying for funds on Monday October 5th and can apply through November 6, 2020. Under this Phase 3 General Distribution allocation eligibility has expanded to the following:
- Providers who have already received Provider Relief Fund payments are invited to apply for additional funding,
- Previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020 will be invited to apply, and
- An expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting mental health and substance issues exacerbated by the pandemic will also be eligible for relief payments.
“HHS is urging all eligible providers to apply early; do not wait until the last day or week of the application period. Applying early will help to expedite HHS’s review process and payment calculations, and ultimately accelerate the distribution of all payments.”
October 2, 2020: Public Health Emergency Renewed
The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex M. Azar II, has renewed the Public Health Emergency (PHE) due to the COVID-19 pandemic effective October 23, 2020. The extension of the PHE means that current waivers will remain in place.
- Renewal of Public Health Emergency: https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/covid19-2Oct2020.aspx
- CMS Coronavirus Waivers & Flexibilities webpage: https://www.cms.gov/about-cms/emergency-preparedness-response-operations/current-emergencies/coronavirus-waivers
CDC COVID Data Tracker – United States COVID-19 Cases
|Data Date||Total Cases||Total Deaths||Deaths per 100,000 People||Cases in Last 7 Days|
|September 8, 2020||6,287,362||188,688||57||282,919|
|September 14, 2020||6,503,030||193,705||59||241,814|
|September 20, 2020||6,748,935||198,754||60||281,490|
|September 28, 2020||7,095,422||204,328||62||310,020|
|October 5, 2020||7,396,730||209,199||63||301,438|
|Resource: CDC COVID Data Tracker at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM37553#cases_totalcases|
Article by Beth Cobb
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system.
This material was compiled to share information. MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.