I spoke with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner, Brendan Carr. I appreciate the time he tookto provide me with more information about how doctors can better use the $200 million provided in the CARES Act for telehealth to treat patients during this crisis.
Also,he assured me that the FCC is still working to continue the rollout of 5G network infrastructure.
National Update: The U.S. Department of Labor published an Unemployment Insurance Guidance Letter. This letter explains that states will administer the additional $600 weekly payment to certain eligible individuals who are receiving other benefits. This $600 a week increase for unemployment compensation was included in the CARES Act to help support American workers during this pandemic.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a resource page. This page lays out options for small businesses, such as the paycheck protection program, SBA loan and debt relief options, and guidance for preventing workplace exposure to this Coronavirus. Additionally, the SBA has issued clarifications regarding eligibility for faith-based organization participation in the paycheck protection program.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s International Reagent Resource (IRR) has been expanding to help with this Coronavirus outbreak. IRR will be expanded to help public health labs with access to the necessary COVID-19 diagnostic materials. Information about the IRR’s role is available here.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General conducted a study on hospital experiences responding to this COVID-19 pandemic. The results of this national survey are available online. This purpose of this study is to obtain a national snapshot of hospitals’ challenges and needs during this pandemic.
The Mayo Clinic will be leading the National Convalescent Plasma program. The Mayo Clinic will be leading this expanded access program to provide investigational convalescent plasma for patients who are at a high risk of progressing to life-threatening COVID-19. The Mayo Clinic will be working with the Food and Drug Administration and the American Red Cross to help advance this experimental therapy that may help lessen the severity of this Coronavirus in vulnerable patients.
Texas Update: Governor Abbott suspended certain regulations on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers.Suspending regulations, such as certain skill testing requirements and out of state reciprocity restrictions, for EMS workers seeks to increase the first responder workforce. Our health care workforce, including first responders like EMS workers, is essential to combating this Coronavirus outbreak.
MD Medical Group will begin offering drive-through testing for COVID-19. There will be numerous locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including the Clinicas Mi Doctor Lewisville location. These drive-through locations will help protect the public and health care workers by making testing more efficient while preventing the spread of this virus.