Coronavirus / Safety & Health

Coronavirus Response Update: Supporting Patients and Healthcare Providers


• In January, the Administration declared the coronavirus to be a public health emergency.
• The President donated his fourth-quarter 2019 salary to the Department of Health and Human Services for coronavirus response efforts.
• The President took action to give HHS authority to waive rules and regulations so that healthcare providers have maximum flexibility to respond to this outbreak.
• HHS is providing funding to help healthcare systems across the country quickly prepare for a surge in coronavirus patients.
• CMS is giving flexibility to Medicare Advantage and Part D plans to waive cost-sharing for coronavirus tests and treatment.
• CMS created new billing codes for coronavirus tests to promote better tracking of the public health response.
• The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinated with the NIH, the tech industry, and non-profits to release a machine readable collection of 29,000 coronavirus-related research articles, which will help scientists discover insights to virus’ genetics, incubation, treatment, symptoms, and prevention.
• The White House launched a new public-private consortium to help provide coronavirus research projects access to powerful supercomputer resources.
• The Administration announced that health plans with health savings accounts will be able to cover coronavirus testing and treatment without co-payments.
• CMS dramatically expanded telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries, ensuring more patients can access their doctors remotely while avoiding exposure.
• HHS lifted HIPAA penalties to enable healthcare providers to expand telehealth access for patients.
• The FDA took action to allow expanded use of devices to monitor patients’ vital signs remotely, reducing hospital visits and minimizing risks of exposure.
• The VA established 19 emergency operations centers across the country and put in place visitation restrictions to limit patients’ exposure.
• Thanks to a waiver from the Office of Personnel Management, the VA is working to rehire retired medical personnel during the coronavirus outbreak.
• CMS and the VA are working to limit nonessential, elective medical procedures to free up healthcare resources.
• The Department of Defense issued guidance to delay elective medical procedures at military facilities in order to preserve healthcare resources.
• The Navy will be deploying two medical ships to help support impacted areas.
• The President announced Carnival Cruise Lines will be making ships available for hospitals to use for non-coronavirus patients.
• The Army Corps of Engineers is helping to build temporary hospitals and medical facilities in states like New York and Washington.

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