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Today in Washington – April 21, 2020: COVID-19 Updates

Posted on April 21, 2020 in COVID-19 Daily Updates, Health Law News

Published by: Hall Render

Tuesday, April 21 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

  • This afternoon the Senate unanimously approved by voice vote a $484 billion aid package to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and provide additional funds for hospitals and coronavirus testing. The measure allocates the funding in the following manner and a more detailed summary can be found here:
    • $310 billion in additional lending authority for the PPP, with some funds set aside to support loans issued by smaller lenders;
    • $60 billion for separate disaster loans to small businesses;
    • $75 billion for hospitals; and
    • $25 billion for virus testing.
  • The House is expected to pass the bill on Thursday with President Trump signing it Thursday night or Friday. Lawmakers will then turn their attention to drafting a fourth stimulus bill (CARES 4.0). That measure could include more money for health care providers and state and local governments, as well as relief for insurance companies, the restaurant industry and infrastructure (roads, bridges, broadband, etc.) spending. Depending on the level of debate that occurs, the bill could be ready for a vote by early June.

ONC, CMS and OIG Announce Enforcement Discretion of Interoperability Final Rules

  • The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (“ONC”) and CMS, in conjunction with OIG, announced a policy of enforcement discretion to allow compliance flexibilities regarding the implementation of the interoperability final rules.

CMS Providing MIPS Credit for Reporting COVID-19 Clinical Trials Data

  • CMS announced that clinicians may now earn credit in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (“MIPS”), a performance-based track of  the Quality Payment Program (“QPP”) that incentivizes quality and value for participation in a clinical trial and reporting clinical information on new COVID-19 Clinical Trials improvement activity. 

NIH Panel Releases Treatment Guidelines for COVID-19

  • The National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) convened a panel of experts to release COVID-19 treatment guidelines for health care providers, which will be updated as data becomes available.

HHS Releases CARES Act Funding for Older Adults and People with Disabilities in the Community

  • HHS announced  $955 million in grants from the Administration for Community Living (“ACL”) to help meet the needs of older adults and people with disabilities as communities implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The grants will fund items like home-delivered meals, care services in the home, respite care and other support to families and caregivers.

CDC Updates Laboratory Testing FAQs

From the FDA

  • The FDA authorized the first diagnostic test with a home collection option for COVID-19.

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 by contacting 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.