COVID-19 Federal Responses: Thursday, April 23, 2020

COVID-19 Federal Responses: Thursday, April 23, 2020

On the evening of April 23, the House passed bipartisan legislation that provides an additional $320 billion in funding to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other disaster relief programs. The bill includes certain criteria for the PPP funding so that $60 billion will be distributed to small and medium-sized lenders. It also provides more funding for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL). Both the PPP and the EIDL completely distributed the funding they received from the CARES Act.

The bill also provides $75 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to distribute throughout the healthcare system.

In response to criticisms that large, publicly traded companies were receiving PPP loans, the SBA issued new guidance to clarify that those types of companies will not be eligible for the loans. However, in some notable cases, the recipients were independent franchises of a publicly traded company.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a new Telehealth Toolkit to help providers understand all the new flexibilities for telehealth policies at the federal level.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) distributed an additional $631 million to 64 jurisdictions to support local epidemiology and public health efforts. The full list of CDC funding awarded to states and territories is available through the CDC’s website.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) , said the country needs a greater testing capacity before social distancing guidelines can be lifted.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield is clarifying remarks he made about the challenges of a second COVID-19 wave in the fall. He disagreed with some media outlets for interpreting his remarks to mean that a fall wave would be worse than the current wave. However, his remarks were intended to describe the challenges of combatting COVID-19 during the height of the fall flu season.

A panel of researchers from NIAID recommended against the use of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin to treat COVID-19.

President Trump signed an Executive Order that suspends most immigration into the United States during the public health emergency. The Order does not impact immigrants who are currently in the country. The government has already taken other actions to limit immigration such as suspending the visa process and temporarily closing the U.S. border with Mexico and Canada to non-essential travel.

The April 23 Daily Update highlighted an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) webinar that was scheduled for that afternoon. That morning, the IRS postponed the webinar and did not announce a new date.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating work place safety issues at healthcare facilities. However, it will reserve enforcing penalties except for the most egregious violations.