COVID-19 Federal Response Update – Monday, July 27, 2020

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By Capitol Associates, Inc. 

Congress

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) officially announced the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act as the Republican COVID-19 relief bill. This legislation will not become law. Rather, it will serve as a starting point for Republicans in their negotiations with Democrats on bipartisan relief legislation.

As of the time of this update’s distribution, the complete bill text has not been released. Sections of the bill are trickling out.

Appropriations text and summary.

Small Business summary.

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee summary.

Finance Committee summary.

The Democrats similarly passed their own bill in the House, H.R. 6800, the HEROES Act, which will not become law but will serve as the Democrats’ starting point for negotiations.

On Wednesday, July 29th, the House is expected to vote of two pieces of legislation aimed at providing relief for child care providers and facilities during the pandemic:

H.R. 7327– The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act would expand dependent care and payroll tax credits to caregivers and childcare providers.

H.R. 7027– The Child Care Is Essential Act would create a $50 billion stabilization fund to provide grants to child care providers.

White House and Federal Agencies

Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar officially renewed the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) for another 90 days. The PHE declaration gives federal agencies broad authorities to issue regulatory flexibilities for the duration of the PHE. Extending the PHE also extends those flexibilities.

HHS will host three webinars to provide information and resources about telehealth to community-based organizations like public-housing authorities, multi-family housing providers, etc.

The first webinar will be held on July 29th at 2:00 p.m. ET

The National Guard Bureau has requested to extend the deployment of Guardsmen through the end of the year. Deployment extensions will allow the Bureau to continue COVID-19 relief efforts and operations.

Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary of HHS, says that future COVID-19 tests will also be able to detect the seasonal flu. Assistant Secretary Giroir also urges Americans to get their flu shot this year.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new COVID-19 test for people who are not presenting symptoms.

Following recent spikes in COVID-19 cases among military service members, 21 military bases have increased their health protection requirements including: restricted in-person gatherings, recommended social distancing, etc.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its schedule for stakeholder engagement webinars and calls for this week.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated a list of FAQs covering COVID-19-related topics like risk, infection, control, transmission, etc.

The CDC has updated guidance for personal and social activities including: restaurant dining, social gatherings, using gyms, traveling, etc.

The CDC is now providing tips on how to safely hire and schedule in-home services or repairs during the pandemic.

A Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released by the CDC found that, among the 3,142 U.S. counties surveyed, nearly 50% of adults had underlying medical conditions associated with risk of severe COVID-19 infection.

A MMWR released by the CDC found that, in a multi-state survey of outpatient, COVID-19 positive adults, 35% of infected adults had not “returned to their usual state of health” 2-3 weeks after they were confirmed positive.

Reopening, Vaccine and Treatment

Moderna Inc., a biotechnology company developing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, received $472 million in additional funding from the federal government to support their Phase 3 study, set to begin today, July 27th.

The U.S. Justice Department has approved information sharing between six drug manufacturers in the hopes that, by sharing manufacturing and supply-chain information, they will be able to accelerate the production of antibody treatments for COVID-19.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that there is limited evidence that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are safe and effective treatments for COVID-19.

Congressional Hearings

The Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on Tuesday, July 28th at 10:15 a.m. to discuss how to protect the reliability of the medical supply chain during COVID-19.

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is holding a hearing on Tuesday, July 28th at 2:30 p.m. to review the use of telecommunications in the workplace and private sector telework policies.

The House Joint Economic Committee is holding a hearing on Tuesday, July 28th at 2:30 p.m. to discuss how to reduce uncertainty and restore confidence during the COVID-19 recession.

The Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs is holding a hearing on Wednesday, July 29th at 3:00 p.m. to discuss the challenges and opportunities that rural Americans have faced during COVID-19.

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus crisis is holding a hearing on Friday, July 31st at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the need for a national plan in order to contain COVID-19.


Please  contact the AHRA Regulatory Affairs Committee with any regulatory questions you may have at regulatory@ahra.org.

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