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COVID-19 in the News May 11th through May 17th, 2021

Published on 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

 | Coding 
 | Quality 

This week we highlight key updates spanning from May 11h through May 17th, 2021.

Resource Spotlight: Happy Belated National Women’s Health Week

National Women’s Health Week was last week (May 9th – 15th). This effort is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH). According to a related Fact Sheet (link), this year’s week served “as a reminder for women and girls, especially during the outbreak of COVID-19, to make their health a priority and take care of themselves. It is extremely important for all women and girls, especially those with underlying health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and older adults, to take care of your health now.” You can read more about this event on the OWH website by clicking here.

Palmetto Statement in daily newsletter:

“CMS would like to make you aware that the federally supported website (link) that makes it easier for individuals to access COVID-19 vaccines is now live. (link) — powered by the trusted VaccineFinder brand — is available in English and Spanish, with high accessibility standard, and will help connect Americans with locations offering vaccines near them. In addition to the website, people in the U.S. are also now able to utilize a text message service, available in both English and Spanish. People can text their ZIP Code to 438829 (GETVAX) and 822862 (VACUNA) to find three locations nearby that have vaccines available. is meant to complement the number of state and pharmacy websites that have been successfully connecting many Americans with vaccinations, by providing a unified federal resource for Americans to use no matter where they are.

In addition to the website and text messaging service, the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline is now available to help those who prefer to get information by phone on where to get a vaccine. Call 1-800-232-0233 to find a location near you.”
Link to announcement

May 11, 2021: CMS Issues Interim Final Rule for Long Term Care Facilities

CMS announced in a Special Edition MLN Connects (link) that they have released an interim final rule “that will ensure long-term care facilities , and residential facilities serving clients with intellectual disabilities, educate and offer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents, clients, and staff.” While the requirements of this rule is for Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs-IID), CMS ends this announcement by indicating they are “seeking comment on opportunities to expand these policies to help encourage vaccine uptake and access in other congregate care settings.”

At the onset of the pandemic, FDA inspections began to be reserved for what they describe as “mission-critical issues” based on the following four factors:

May 13, 2021: CDC Updates Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People

The CDC provided the following two updates on their Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People webpage (link):

  • You no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal , state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance, and
  • You can refrain from testing following a known exposure unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.

I encourage you to visit this webpage for additional recommendations for indoor and outdoor settings and travel (Domestic and International).

May 14, 2021: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness

The CDC posted a report (link) regarding vaccine effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines among health care personnel (HCP) at 33 U.S. sites from January to March 2021. In the report summary they indicate what is added by this report is information about COVID-19 effectiveness:

  • A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines is 82% effective against symptomatic COVID-19, and
  • Two doses is 94% effective.

May 14, 2021: CDC Call – "What Clinicians Need to Know about Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccination of Adolescents" – In case you missed it, the CDC held a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) call this past Friday, May 14th. This call:

  • Provided clinicians with an overview of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccination in adolescents who are 12-to-15 years old, and
  • Provided information about safety and efficacy of the vaccine, vaccine recommendations, and clinical guidance.

You can access the call materials including slides on this CDC webpage (link).

Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.