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Today in Washington – April 3, 2020: COVID-19 Updates

Posted on April 3, 2020 in COVID-19 Daily Updates, Health Law News

Published by: Hall Render

Friday, April 3 Recap

Note – ​We believe this is the most up-to-date information available at this time, but it is subject to change ​as circumstances warrant. Also, all finalized resources can be found ​on the COVID-19 ​Resource ​Center page ​of Hall Render’s website.​

Congressional Outlook

  • The House and Senate remain in recess until April 20.
  • Today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) publicly confirmed there will be a fourth coronavirus rescue package and that health care should be a top priority. McConnell told the Associated Press, “It should be more a targeted response to what we got wrong and what we didn’t do enough for — and at the top of the list there would have to be the health care part of it.”
  • The statement marks a reversal for McConnell who in recent days had advocated for allowing the third stimulus bill to take effect before considering a fourth. Democrats in the House are already conducting meetings to discuss provisions that should be included in a fourth stimulus bill.

Trump Says Hospitals to Be Paid for Treating Uninsured COVID-19 Patients

  • In a follow up to statements made at yesterday’s daily COVID-19 briefing by Vice President Pence, President Trump reiterated plans to use money from the CARES Act to pay hospitals for the treatment of uninsured coronavirus patients.
  • HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated that hospitals would be paid the same prices they receive for Medicare patients, and hospitals that accept the funds would be barred from sending any additional bills to patients. However, as of this writing, no other details of the plan had been released.
  • The money would be drawn from the $100 billion allocated in the CARES Act to help hospitals respond to the crisis. The process for allocation of any such funds is still being developed by HHS.

CMS Releases COVID-19 Long-Term Care Facility Guidance

  • CMS and the CDC issued new recommendations to state and local governments and long-term care facilities to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

DOL Issues More Information on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

CMS Issues Informational Bulletin on Telehealth and Rural Providers 

  • CMS released an informational bulletin to states identifying opportunities for using telehealth to increase rural and other access to Medicaid services and treatment for substance use disorders, especially during the COVID-19 emergency. 

From the FDA 

  • The FDA issued Frequently Asked Questions on shortages of surgical masks and gowns.
  • The FDA released guidance on conduct of clinical trials of medical products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The FDA issued a news release on a national effort to develop blood-related therapies for COVID-19.
  • On April 6, 2020, the FDA will host a webinar for device manufacturers and industry to discuss and answer questions on the recently issued immediately in effect guidance on enforcement policy for personal protective equipment (“PPE”) during COVID-19.

COVID-19-Related Phone Scams and Phishing Attacks 

  • CDC issued an alert on COVID-19-related phone scams and phishing attacks.
  • Hall Render has learned that bad actors have been posing as OCR investigators in an attempt to gain access to PHI. Covered entities and business associates are reminded to check credentials and verify identity before providing information.

For more information, please contact:

Hall Render’s attorneys and professionals continue to maintain the most up-to-date information and resources at our COVID-19 Resource page, through our 24/7 COVID‑19 Hotline at (317) 429-3900, or your regular Hall Render attorney.

Hall Render blog posts and articles are intended for informational purposes only. For ethical reasons, Hall Render attorneys cannot—outside of an attorney-client relationship—answer specific questions that would be legal advice.