Coronavirus Flash Update: July 2020 #3

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Alston & Bird’s Coronavirus Flash provides updates on policy and regulatory actions under consideration across many important industries being monitored by our teams. Links to key government and legal resources are provided throughout the report.


UPDATED 9:00 AM ET ON MONDAY, JULY 20, 2020

The Latest News

  • U.S. COVID-19 cases exceed 3,754,255 and 137,696 U.S. deaths. (Source: CDC) (Updated 7/20/20)
  • U.S. stock market: On Friday the markets posted mixed results for the day, with the Dow dropping 62 points, while the S&P 500 gained 9 points and the Nasdaq rose 29 points. (New)
  • The FDA authorizes the first “pooled testing” by reissuing an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Quest Diagnostics to authorize its Quest SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR test for use with pooled samples containing up to four individual swab specimens collected under observation. This is the first test approved for use with pooled samples. (7/18/20) (New)
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation released new analysis on COVID-19 test list prices showing that COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody test list prices range from $20 to $850 at large hospitals nationwide. The analysis looked for pricing at the 2 largest hospitals in each state plus DC and of those 102 hospitals, 78 have posted prices for COVID-19 diagnostic tests. There were 134 distinct prices for diagnostic tests, which ranged between $20 and $850 (median of $127). 51% of test chargers were between $100 and $199, with 19% priced above $200. 29 of the 102 hospitals posted prices of COVID-19 antibody tests. There were 38 distinct prices for antibody tests, which ranged between $36 and $300. 82% of posted prices were less than $150. (7/13/20) (New)
  • The Department of Treasury has approved the expansion of the Main Street Lending Program to nonprofit organizations including educational institutions, hospitals, and social service organizations. The Main Street nonprofit loan terms generally mirror those for Main Street for-profit business loans, including the interest rate, principal and interest payment deferral, five-year term, and minimum and maximum loan sizes. Nonprofits will be eligible for two loan options, and the chart below has additional details on the final terms. There are two loan options listed below: (7/17/20) (New)
  • Nonprofit Organization New Loan Facility Term Sheet (7/17/20) (New)
  • Nonprofit Organization Expanded Loan Facility Term Sheet (7/17/20) (New)
  • HHS announced $10 billion in a second round of Provider Relief Fund aid to high impact COVID-19 hospitals. Distributions will start to go out next week. (7/17/20) (New)
  • Methodology has changed from Round 1. Eligible hospitals are those:
    • With over 161 COVID-19 admissions between 1/1 and 6/10/2020; or
    • With one admission per day; or
    • That experienced “a disproportionate intensity of COVID admissions” (exceeding the average ratio of COVID admissions per bed).
  • Hospitals will be paid $50,000 per eligible admission (reduced from $76,975 per eligible admission).
  • State-by-state breakdown (7/17/20) (New)
  • List of recipients (7/17/20) (New)

COVID-19 Federal Legislation

  • Bill 4.0: The clock is ticking with the Senate returning this week with 8 days before its scheduled August break, and the House is due to start its August recess in four days. This creates an extremely narrow window to enact a 4.0 emergency stimulus package before the August congressional recess departure which the leadership of both bodies have said is their goal. These scheduled departures may slip, but probably not by much since both parties have their presidential nominating conventions later in August. If necessary, the final negotiations could be delayed to September, but neither party wants to leave important emergency legislation to the final legislative weeks before the fall election. (New)
  • Since the House of Representatives passed its 4.0 proposal, the HEROES Act, in May, the focus is on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has stated he will release his proposal this week. Leader McConnell has indicated his proposal will include school funding to aid in reopening, liability protections for businesses, hospitals, and schools, an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, and a payroll tax cut. McConnell has also stated the proposal will include additional funding for COVID-19 testing, but the Administration signaled over the weekend that they might oppose additional testing funds. Once the Senate GOP proposal has been released, the negotiations between the two bodies will begin in earnest. (7/20/20) (New)
  • The HEROES Act was the first formal offer on a new emergency stimulus bill, 4.0: For the full details on the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800, which passed the House on May 15:
  • The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, H.R. 7010, was enacted on June 5. To learn more, see this A&B Summary of the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act. (6/5/20)
  • Bill 3.5: Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, (R. 266) was enacted on April 24. Also available are a section-by-section summary and an overview of the health care provisions.
  • A&B detailed summaries are below:
    • A&B Summary5 Small Business Provisions
    • A&B Summary5 Health Care Enhancement Provisions
  • Bill 3.0: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, (R. 748) passed on March 27. A congressional section by section summary is available here.
  • Congress has passed three coronavirus emergency response bills and the first two are below:
  • Bill 1.0: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental (CPPRS) (R. 6074) passed on March 5
  • Bill 2.0: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (R. 6201) passed on March 18

Transition to “Reopening”

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS has a tracking feature that allows public viewing of all COVID-19 HHS grants and cooperative agreement awards on its website. The grants were distributed through programs in the ACF, ACL, ASPR, CDC, DHHS/OS, HRSA, IHS, NIH, and SAMHSA. (Updated 7/16/20)
  • HHS released information and FAQs on its new hospital data reporting protocols. (7/10/20) (New)
  • HHS announced a large-scale procurement of FDA-authorized rapid point-of-care diagnostic test instruments and tests to be distributed to nursing homes. (7/14/20) (New)
  • The HHS Office of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) announced jointly with the Department of Defense a partnership with Smiths Medical, Inc. to expand the capacity to manufacture safety needles and syringes. (7/14/20) (New)
  • HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health & Safety Administration (SAMHSA) announced the adoption of the revised Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records regulation, 42, CFR Part 2. (7/13/20) (New)
  • HHS released May and June testing plans for each state, territory, and some localities. (7/10/20)
  • HHS has released a summary chart to understand what private insurance plans are required to cover when it comes to COVID-19 testing. (7/7/20) (New)
  • Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar reassured governors recently that the Administration planned to extend the public health emergency (PHE) declaration when it expires on July 25. If extended it will be the second extension since the coronavirus emergency was declared in January. Public health emergency declarations are often extended (each extension is for 90 days) months beyond the dates of initial disasters, but the coronavirus emergency has been unique due to its nationwide impact and the number of waivers and regulatory flexibilities extended for the duration of the PHE. Confirming the pledges made by Vice President Pence and Sec. Azar, the HHS communications director, Michael Caputo tweeted "Enough already. @HHSGov expects to renew the Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19 before it expires." (7/7/20)
  • The HHS Office of Civil Rights maintains a list of COVID-19 complaint resolutions. (Updated 7/8/20)

HHS/CDC/CMS/HRSA CARES Act Provider Relief Funds

  • HHS - the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund (PRF) webpage (Updated 7/17/20)
  • And the PRF FAQs (Updated 7/17/20) have been updated and capture numerous modifications.
  • HHS announced $10 billion in a second round of Provider Relief Fund aid to high impact COVID-19 hospitals. Distributions will start to go out next week. (7/17/20) (New)
  • Methodology has changed from Round 1. Eligible hospitals are those:
    • With over 161 COVID-19 admissions between 1/1 and 6/10/2020; or
    • With one admission per day; or
    • That experienced “a disproportionate intensity of COVID admissions” (exceeding the average ratio of COVID admissions per bed).
  • Hospitals will be paid $50,000 per eligible admission (reduced from $76,975 per eligible admission).
  • State-by-state breakdown (7/17/20) (New)
  • List of recipients (7/17/20) (New)
  • The CDC has posted an updated dataset of provider recipient specific payment from the Provider Relief Fund general distribution high impact targeted allocation and/or rural targeted allocation. The dataset includes who has attested to receiving one or more payments and agreed to the terms and conditions as of July 160. (Updated 7/15/20)
  • A&B Hospital provisions from all 4 bills tracker (Updated 7/19/20)
  • A&B Provider Relief Fund Disbursements tracker (Updated 7/192/20)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Food and Drug Administration

Small Business Administration

Other Federal Agencies

For background and the most up-to-date information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 website: HERE. The additional federal agency links are provided by the White House Coronavirus Task Force: What You Should Know:

Information for Businesses:

Information for Travel and Transportation:

Download PDF of the Flash Update

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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