Coronavirus Response Newsletter

HHS Begins Distributing Phase 3 COVID-19 Provider Relief Funds

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began distribution of $24.5 billion in Phase 3 Provider Relief Funds to 70,000 providers today. Recipients were required to apply for this Phase 3 general distribution. The application process allocates these payments first to providers that have not received a payment of 2% of annual operating revenue and then to providers based on actual expenses and lost revenue attributed to COVID-19. Payments to qualifying providers will occur over the next several weeks. 

Originally, HHS intended to allocate $20 billion in the Phase 3 general distribution but increased the amount by $4.5 billion. The increase is intended to cover up to 88% of providers’ reported losses. In its announcement, HHS stated that 35,000 providers who applied for the Phase 3 general distribution will not receive additional funds because they either did not experience a change in net expenses or revenue attributed to COVID-19 or have already received Provider Relief Funds equal to or in excess of 88% of reported losses. 

HHS Webinar Dec. 17 on Hospital Data Reporting Requirements

The HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs will host a webinar on Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. (PT) to provide an overview of changes to the hospital data reporting FAQ, automation projects, and Project Greenlight — an interagency initiative to validate health care facility data submitted to HHS. Online registration is required.

The webinar will include time for questions and answers, but an inbox has also been established — [email protected] — to answer hospitals’ questions. 

CDC Webinar Dec. 17 on Crisis Standards of Care

On Dec. 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (PT), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will host a webinar titled Making Practical Decisions for Crisis Standards of Care at the Bedside During the COVID-19 Pandemic. A few minutes before the webinar starts, please follow this Zoom link to join. Advanced registration is not required.

Changes in Quarantine Guidance Affect Labor and Employment Law

Recent changes to federal and state quarantine recommendations have labor and employment law implications, touching on both Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and California’s COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.  

Following guidance from the CDC and subsequent guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to local public health officers revised on Dec. 14, the Governor issued an Executive Order on Dec. 15 modifying the quarantine requirement in Cal/OSHA’s ETS addressing COVID-19 in the workplace. While the ETS does not apply to employees covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Disease (ATD) Standard, it does apply to some health system employees (see the recent CHA News article). 

The Executive Order modified ETS sections 3205(c)(10) and (c)(11) to suspend the periods set forth in those sections and instead adopts any applicable quarantine or isolation period recommended by CDPH, including in its Dec. 14 COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance; or any applicable quarantine or isolation period recommended or ordered by a local health officer who has jurisdiction over the workplace. For employees covered by the ATD Standard, this updated guidance would appear to allow for adoption of these shorter quarantine periods.

These shorter quarantine periods may also have implications for employees using COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave, as that leave is available for situations where the employee is advised to quarantine by a health care provider or directed not to report to work by the employer.  

Summary of Dec. 15 CDPH Call

CDPH has provided a summary of its recent weekly call with health care facilities.