COVID-19 Federal Response Update – Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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By Capitol Associates, Inc. 

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a letter to clinicians explaining how they can receive credit towards the MIPS Clinical Practice Improvement Activities category if they participate in a COVID-19 clinical trial.
  • Gilead Sciences announced “positive data” from the preliminary results of its phase three trial testing its Remdesivir antiviral drug to treat COVID-19. Remdesivir was originally developed to treat other infectious diseases such as Ebola but it was not effective. Gilead began testing its use to treat COVID-19 in February.
    • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed optimism from the results he has seen. He appears to have endorsed the drug as the new standard treatment for COVID-19.
    • The FDA could provide an emergency use authorization for Remdesivir to treat COVID-19 as soon as this week.
    • Experts are cautioning that Remdesivir is not a cure for COVID-19. However, if provided early enough, it can hasten recovery by as much as 31 percent.
  • The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) published FAQs on its webpage that providers can use to request reimbursement for uncompensated COVID-19 care to uninsured people. Air Ambulances will now be eligible for this assistance.
  • The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that U.S. GDP dropped by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020. The decrease could be greater after a revision. The Coronavirus began affecting the U.S. midway through Q1. Many economists expect a much larger GDP decrease in Q2.
    • The Federal Reserve announced it will keep interest rates at near 0 percent until the economy reaches full employment and 2 percent inflation.
  • Apple and Google officially released their contact tracing smartphone app which will use a phone’s Bluetooth technology to alert the user if they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.
  • The HHS Office of Inspector General updated its Work Plan of ongoing oversight activities. The April update shows that OIG will conduct oversight of the FDA’s role in facilitating COVID-19 testing, HHS management of the Strategic National Stockpile of medical supplies, and HHS’s Production and Distribution of COVID-19 Lab Test Kits.
  • President Trump signed a bill into law that ensures student veterans maintain their GI Bill benefits.
  • The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)​ announced it will only accept medical countermeasure research proposals relating to COVID-19.

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