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A Doctor's note on Coronavirus
Posted by on March 23, 2020 | comments
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March 23, 2020

Dear Friends,

Today, Senate Democrats and Speaker Pelosi once again put partisan politics before American families and workers. Instead of focusing on the crisis at hand, they continue to bring forward other issues to put in a third emergency appropriations bill meant to combat COVID-19. This is not the time to push a wish list of ideological and controversial priorities.

Here is a list of what Democrats are blocking for Americans:

  • Direct payments to the American people
  • $250B in unemployment insurance
  • $100B for hospitals
  • $4.5B for the CDC
  • $11B for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other preparedness needs
  • $5B for FEMA Disaster Relief Fund · $1.7B for Strategic National Stockpile
  • $12B for the military
  • $20B for Veterans health care
  • $12B for K-12 education
  • $6B for higher education
  • $10B for airports
  • $20B for Public Transportation Emergency Relief

National Update:
A potential COVID-19 treatment progresses to a Phase 2 clinical trial. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) announced it will help fund a Phase 2 trial for a potential COVID-19 treatment. A drug called Kevzara, currently approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, may be able to be adapted to treat this Coronavirus.

Individuals with chronic illnesses have a new resource to help them during this Coronavirus outbreak. The Global Healthy Living Foundation has launched a "Guide to Coronavirus for Chronic Illness Patients". Whether an individual is looking for the latest patient advice, community support, or how to help others, this is a great place to start.

Clinicians, providers, and facilities participating in Medicare quality reporting programs have been granted relief. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced exceptions from reporting requirements and extensions for those participating in these quality reporting programs. This will help our health care workforce focus on American patients by being held harmless for not submitting data during this period.

CMS released hotlines for physicians and other health care providers to seek Medicare enrollment relief. These hotlines, included in a Frequently Asked Questions document, are intended to provide health care practitioners with information regarding flexibilities available to them and to initiate temporary Medicare billing privileges.

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have new guidance and tools to accelerate relief. CMS has released COVID-19 checklists and toolsto accelerate relief for state Medicaid and CHIP agencies. These additional resources will help states have the flexibility to best serve their patients during this outbreak.

Texas Update:
An emergency “Safer-At-Home” order has been issued in Dallas Country. This order was issued in an effort to continue to flatten the curve and prevent further spread of this Coronavirus. All Texans living in Dallas Country shall stay at their place of residence and allowed to leave for essential activities. Essential activities include:

  • Activities essential to health and safety of yourself or family members;
  • To obtain necessary services or supplies such as food and consumer products;
  • To engage in outdoor activities when complying with the six-foot distance requirement;
  • To perform work providing essential products and services at an essential business;
  • To care for a family member or pet in another household.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will deploy staff to Tarrant Country and Fort Worth. A member of the CDC Emergency Response Team will be deployed to work with the Texas Department of State Health Services to address Texas’ specific needs. States and local public health officials are encourage to visit the Public Health Professionals Gateway or reach out to the CDC at CDCWNCoVResponse@cdc.gov.

Until tomorrow, this is your doctor's note.
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Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.

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