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A Doctor's note on Coronavirus

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Washington, April 13, 2020 | comments
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April 13, 2020

Dear Friends,

Today, the Federal Communication Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program Application Portal opened. This COVID-19 Telehealth Program will provide $200 million in funding from the CARES Act. The funding will help furnish connected care capabilities to treat patients remotely during this time.

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National Update:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report regarding geographic differences in this Coronavirus outbreak. This report breaks down the geographic distribution of cases, deaths, and incidence and includes all states, territories, the District of Columbia, and New York City.

The CDC announced modifications and an extension of the No Sail Order for cruise ships. The No Sail Order, signed on March 14, 2020, has been extended until the earliest of the following: expiration of the public health emergency declaration, the order is rescinded or modified, or 100 days from April 9th when this order was extended and published on the Federal Register.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports state-by-state Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments. This online document will be updated as more funding is sent to states over the course of this pandemic.

CMS announced expanded coverage for essential diagnostic services. New guidance was issued to ensure patients with private health insurance have coverage of COVID-19 diagnostic testing and certain related services, including antibody testing, at no cost.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for a blood purification system. This product can be used to treat adult COVID-19 patients admitted for intensive care with confirmed or imminent respiratory failure. This emergency use authorization is for Terumo BCT Inc. and Marker Therapeutics AG.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service launched an online tool for stimulus payments. This tool will help individuals who normally do not file tax returns to ensure they get their stimulus payments funded by the CARES Act. This resource will provide all information necessary for non-filers to enter their payment information online.

The National Institutes of Health will begin a study to quantify undetected cases of Coronavirus infection. This study will focus on determining the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the immune system that will fight this Coronavirus. Thus far reporting of COVID-19 cases may not account for certain undetected cases, this study will help identify those.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a new funding opportunity. This opportunity, funded by the CARES Act, is for rapid, high-impact projects that support the nation’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. These grants will be awarded through the NIST Manufacturing USA National Emergency Assistance Program.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)began shifting medical personnel to help support surge capacity during this Coronavirus outbreak. The VA is utilizing its Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System to deploy medical professionals to hot spot areas, such as New Orleans. Employees who volunteer to participate in this 14-day deployment will be offered a $5,000 award for their service.

The National Brain Tumor Society launched a COVID-19 resource page. This resource page includes FAQs for brain tumor patients and their families, such as how to protect oneself, what to know if you are currently receiving treatment, what to know if you are a participant in a clinical trial, and more.

Texas Update:
The Texas Department of State Health Services has new resources on COVID-19 testing. Testing totals broken down by county are available online and will be updated frequently.

Volunteer opportunity: Texas is looking for medical and non-medical volunteers to help during this Coronavirus outbreak. Interested Texans should visit Texas.gov for more information on how to help during this pandemic.

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

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