(May 6 – 12, 2021)

CMS Increases Medicare Payment for COVID-19 Monoclonal Antibodies
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has issued a press release explaining that there will be an increase in the Medicare payment rate for administering monoclonal antibodies to treat beneficiaries with COVID-19.  The national payment rate increased from $310 to $450 for most health care settings.  CMS will also establish a higher national payment rate of $750 when monoclonal antibodies are administered in the beneficiary’s home, including the beneficiary’s residence or temporary lodging (e.g., hotel/motel, cruise ship, hostel, or homeless shelter).  The press release is available here.

FDA Authorizes Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for Adolescents
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has expanded the emergency use authorization (“EUA”) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19.  The expansion will cover adolescents twelve through fifteen years of age.  The FDA has updated its fact sheets for healthcare providers administering the vaccine.  For more information, click here.

HHS Announces Nearly $1 Billion in Funding for Rural COVID-19 Response
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) has announced the availability of nearly $1 billion in funding to strengthen COVID-19 response efforts and to increase vaccinations in rural communities.  The HRSA Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation Program will provide $460 million to more than 4,600 rural health clinics (RHCs) across the country.  RHCs will use the funds to maintain and increase COVID-19 testing, expand access to testing for rural residents, and broaden efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus in ways tailored to their local communities.  For more information, click here.