In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOL, OSHA, HHS, CMS, and other agencies have released guidance in tandem with Congressional proposals in addition to providing several resources for consumers to stay up-to-date on everything relating to COVID-19.
As anxiety that hospitals will not have adequate numbers of medical supplies to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients increases, CMS and HHS released guidance
recommending providers limit all "nonessential" elective medical and surgical procedures, including dental procedures. "We believe that these recommendations will help surgeons, patients and hospitals prioritize what is essential, while leaving the ultimate decision in the hands of state and local health officials and those clinicians who have direct responsibility to their patients," Verma said during a White House briefing. Vice President Pence also added that HHS will issue a guidance to allow all doctors and medical professionals to practice across state lines.
CMS has also temporarily expanded Medicare coverage of telehealth services, allowing beneficiaries a specific set of services through telehealth to ensure they are able to visit with their physician from home, without having to go to a doctor’s office or hospital. In addition, CMS issued two waivers
to temporarily eliminate the “observation status
” penalty, which occurs when a Medicare beneficiary receives care at a skilled nursing facility without a three-day inpatient hospital stay.
On March 12, the DOL and OSHA released guidance
to states on how they can amend their laws to offer jobless benefits to workers impacted by COVID-19. That includes extending benefits to employees who miss work because of quarantine; to those who choose not to work to avoid exposure or to care for a family member; as well as to those whose employers cease or limit operations in response to the pandemic.
In terms of accessible resources, CMS released a Virtual Toolkit
to help Americans stay up-to-date on CMS materials available on COVID-19. The toolkit includes: how to stop the spread of the virus, potential symptoms, and information for high-risk populations; general beneficiary information, tips on how to take care of your behavioral health while in isolation, advice for caregivers, guidance specifically for healthcare providers, and more. The Small Business Administration created a webpage
with guidance and resources for small businesses and what they can do during the pandemic.
These resources and actions in response to the COVID-19 virus, are part of the ongoing White House Task Force efforts. To keep up with the important work the Task Force is doing in response to COVID-19, visit www.coronavirus.gov.