HHS Standing Committee Newsletter | March 17 Edition


HHS Newsletter

From Congress

Congress Passes the American Rescue Plan Act | March 2021

Congress passed a new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. The bill included funding for several programs and some major Health and Human Services (HHS) provisions. For a summary of the bill, you can read more here. For more about the provisions in the act:

Subcommittee on Health Holds Telehealth Hearing | March 2, 2021

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health covered the impact of COVID-19 on telehealth. Members discussed how the pandemic has changed the ways virtual care can be delivered, the value and convenience of utilizing telehealth, especially for hard-to-reach populations, and how the committee would need to consider discouraging potential low-value care or the overuse of telehealth in Medicare fee-for-service.

House Ways and Means Holds Hearing on Health Profession Opportunity Grants | March 10, 2021

The Health Profession Opportunity Grants program, which is administered by the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), awards grants to organizations providing education and training opportunities to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients and other low-income individuals for occupations in the health care field. The program’s intent is to educate and train low-income individuals to obtain well-paying jobs while also addressing the issue of health care provider shortages across the country. The entire hearing can be accessed here.

From the Administration

FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Johnson & Johnson Vaccine | Feb. 27, 2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for a third COVID-19 vaccine, and the first single-dose vaccine. The authorization comes after review of existing clinical trials and data regarding the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. The vaccine has been reported to be approximately 77% effective in preventing severe/critical COVID-19 for at least 14 days after vaccination and 85% effective for at least 28 days after vaccination. Read more.

Supplemental Chafee Funds Released | March 2021

The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, administered by the ACF, works with current and former foster youth to achieve self-sufficiency. The ACF recently released $344 million in funds to states that was allocated through the appropriations act. For states’ specific amounts of funding, read more.

Administration for Community Living (ACL) Hosting OAA Webinars | March 2021

In honor of the March anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Program, the ACL will be hosting weekly webinars through March. The series will focus on understanding the Older Americans Act and how it intends to address nutrition, socialization, health and well-being.

CDC Supports Tool to Help With Vaccine Sign-Ups | March 2021

The service works with clinics, pharmacies and health departments to help provide accurate and timely information on vaccination services.

CMS and CDC Issue Updated Nursing Home Guidance | March 10, 2021

The agencies released updated guidance for nursing homes to safely expand visitation options during the public health emergency. Facilities may now allow responsible indoor visitation at all times and for all residents, regardless of vaccination status, unless certain situations arise. Some of the scenarios that could limit visitation include: if the COVID-19 positivity rate in a facility is greater than 10% and less than 70% of residents are fully vaccinated, or if residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, vaccinated or unvaccinated, have not yet met requirements to discontinue transmission-based precautions, among others.

Spotlight on

  • The National Council of State Boards of Nursing recently launched a webpage offering an up-to-date list of state registries for volunteer vaccine provider enrollment. This new resource offers eligible potential vaccinators the opportunity to volunteer to administer COVID-19 vaccines in jurisdictions across the country. Read more.

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