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A Doctor's note on Coronavirus

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Washington, April 10, 2020 | comments
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April 10, 2020

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, OPEC and Russia reached a commitment to cut their oil production by 10 million barrels a day, reversing the production increases initiated last month, and are seeking mandatory cuts from the G20 nations.

I appreciate President Trump’s commitment to maintaining America’s free market principles and our leadership position in the global energy market. That is why I co-sponsored legislation to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This action would increase America’s energy resilience and save taxpayer dollars by buying petroleum at a low price. It also will give producers a brief window of time to plan and adapt to the changing marketplace.

While today’s market forces are challenging, I am optimistic for the future of American energy production. The dynamism of our free market system and the spirit of American ingenuity have always pushed America ahead in tough times.

National Update:
The Department of Health and Human Services began distributing the initial $30 billion of funding from the CARES Act to health care providers. Eligible hospitals, physicians, and other providers will be receiving these funds in the form of direct deposits today. This $30 billion will be allocated based on a provider’s share of total 2019 Medicare fee-for-service reimbursements. Subsequent distribution of funds will be allocated according to different methodologies. This funding differs from the Medicare Accelerated/Advanced Payment Program because it goes out in the form of a direct payment rather than a loan.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved approximately $51 billion in Accelerated/Advanced Payment Program requests. This $51 billion will help health care providers continue their work on the frontlines of this Coronavirus battle. This amount distributed is an increase from the $34 billion CMS previously announced earlier this week.

CMS removed non-invasive ventilators from Round 2021 of the Competitive Bidding Program. As a result of this Coronavirus, non-invasive ventilators have been removed from the durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies competitive business program. CMS is also suspending a number of regulatory restrictions to provide additional flexibility to health care workers.

The Food and DrugAdministration(FDA) Roundup. The FDA issued a second emergency use authorization to decontaminate N95 respirators. The FDA also issued new best practices for retail food stores, restaurants, and pick-up and delivery services during this Coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service extended over 300 tax filing, payment, and administrative deadlines. Deadlines and tax filings for fiscal year businesses, tax-exempt organizations, and certain estates and trusts will be extended until July 15th. This administrative act is an effort to relieve taxpayers during this pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the distribution of CARES Act funding. The CARES Act included more than $14 billion to provide emergency financial aid grants to institutions of higher learning. On April 9, the ED Secretary announced that more than $6 billion of this funding will be distributed immediately to colleges and universities to provide cash grants to college students who have been impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Texas Update:
Check out how much funding Texas has received for its COVID-19 response from the Department of Health and Human Services. See the funding breakdown here.

Governor Abbott waived regulations to expand telehealth options. This waiver will remove certain telehealth restrictions and expand the option for telehealth services for Texas patients during this Coronavirus outbreak. These waivers apply to speech-language pathologists and audiologists, behavior analyst, hearing instrument fitters and dispensers, and dyslexia therapists and practitioners.

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

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