Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of June 15
Posted on June 20, 2020
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order (EO) 2020-117 June 18 to extend Michigan’s state of emergency due to COVID-19 through July 16. The MHA continues to keep members apprised of developments during the pandemic through regular email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates on how the pandemic is affecting Michigan hospitals are outlined below.
State Updates COVID-19 Testing Protocols in Nursing Homes
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an order June 15 that changes testing, infection control and other requirements for nursing home settings to prevent COVID-19 in residents and staff. The order details specific testing timeframes and reporting requirements and was prompted by several sizeable COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes.
Other announcements from the MDHHS include making key healthcare staff available for up to 14 days to address staffing shortages and coordinating with Doctors Without Borders to help identify nursing facilities that need assistance with infection prevention and control. Doctors Without Borders is sending mobile teams to assess facility practices and provide tailored recommendation for improvement. The MHA will keep members apprised of the state’s testing sites/needs and how they may impact hospitals’ supplies and testing capacities.
Updates on Federal and State COVID-19 Funding
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently updated its FAQs on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act emergency relief fund, with specific attention to provider reporting. The updated document indicates providers that have received emergency relief payments do not need to submit a quarterly report to the HHS or the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, as the HHS’s public release of the data meets the statutory reporting requirement for these funds. The HHS will also be posting each provider's total emergency relief fund payment amount on the USAspending.gov website, which satisfies the CARES Act reporting requirement.
However, providers must submit any reports requested by the HHS Secretary that are necessary to allow the HHS to ensure compliance with payment terms and conditions. The HHS will provide details of any such reports in the coming weeks. Members with questions may contact Laura Appel at the MHA.
The state Legislature approved $5.1 million for inpatient behavioral health providers to reimburse any additional costs they experienced during the pandemic. The legislation will now go to the governor for her signature. The MHA continues to advocate to protect providers from budget reductions and to bring additional funding to hospitals to offset costs of COVID-19 and lost revenue during the pandemic. Members with questions about behavioral health funding may contact Laura Appel, and those with state legislative questions may contact Adam Carlson at the MHA.
Pharmacy Executive Order Reissued
The executive order regarding pharmacies expired and was reissued June 16 as EO 2020-124 to extend its provisions through July 14. The MHA worked with the administration to ensure vulnerable patients could retain access to emergency prescription refills. Failure to refill the prescription might interrupt the patient’s ongoing care and have a significant adverse effect on their well-being. This EO also allows pharmacists to continue to supervise technicians and other pharmacy staff remotely.
Emergency Use Authorizations Revoked for Medications to Treat COVID-19
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked the emergency use authorization June 15 for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for treatment of COVID-19. The FDA cited clinical studies’ evidence that the drugs are not effective in treating the virus and may pose additional cardiac risks to patients taking the drugs.
Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC). Members with MHA-specific questions should contact the following MHA staff members:
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