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A Doctor's note on Coronavirus

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Washington, April 22, 2020 | comments

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April 22, 2020

Dear Friends,

I am currently in Washington, preparing to finally vote for additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.

It took almost two weeks for Democrats to agree to provide this additional funding. While this assistance never should have been delayed, the increase is great news for American small businesses.

It is disappointing that it took this long due to Democrats playing partisan politics. Their tactics hurt small businesses and left Americans wondering if they would be able to keep their jobs.

In the coming days and weeks, I hope that Congress will reunite to fight this invisible enemy.

National Update:
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released more information about the distribution of the $100billion Provider Relief Fund included in the CARES Act. Click here for more information.

  • A total of $50 billion will be allocated to Medicare providers, including the $30 billion that was already released on April 10. The next wave of this $50 billion will be delivered on Friday, April 24.
  • $10 billion will go towards hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots. HHS has contacted hospitals and is currently collecting relevant information necessary to distribute this funding. Hospitals must submit apply for this funding by midnight PT on Thursday, April 23.
  • $10 billion will be distributed to rural health clinics and hospitals as early as next week.
  • $400 million will be distributed next week to Indian Health Service facilities, based upon operating expenses.
  • Providers will be able to register on April 27 for a program that will provide reimbursement for care they provider to uninsured patients.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released updated guidance to Medicare Advantage Organizations and Part D plan sponsors to inform them of the obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and CARES Act regarding cost sharing for COVID-19 tests and vaccines, and suspension of drug refills during this public health emergency.

  • CMS announced additional flexibilities to expand care by allowing licensed, independent freestanding emergency departments in Texas to treat Medicare and Medicaid patients.
  • Additionally, CMS compiled a list of resources for health care decision-makers in a cohesive Healthcare Workforce Toolkit.
  • A reminder that CMS is continually providing blanket waivers related to the following: care for patients in Long-Term Care Hospitals; temporary expansion locations of Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers; staffing and training modifications in Intermediate Care Facilities for individuals with Intellectual disabilities; the limit for substitute billing arrangements.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance for infection control and laboratories.

The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded nearly $165 million to rural hospitals and Telehealth Resource Centers to help underserved areas combat COVID-19.

Texas Update:
Dallas County commissioners voted to extend the county’s stay at home order until May 15, two weeks past the statewide order issued by Governor Greg Abbott.

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

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