The U.S. FDA said scientific studies support the use of thermal imaging systems for use in human body temperature detection despite the distance between the imaging system and the patient/subject, although such systems are not effective as a method of diagnosing COVID-19. Such systems may not be reliable for taking temperatures of more than one human body at a time, however, and may not function at full accuracy outside of certain temperature (68-76° F) or humidity (10-50%) ranges. Some such systems must be activated at least 30 minutes prior to usage, and may require the use of a calibrated blackbody to ensure accuracy. Facial obstructions, such as scarves, and excessive clothing, including head covers, may render inaccurate measurements, the agency said.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said it has given the nod to an additional 33 funding applications for telehealth under a program set-aside for the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest awards provide $8.36 million for telehealth in urban, rural and other geographic areas, which brings the total awarded funding under this program to more than $33 million to a total of 82 health care providers in 30 states, the agency said.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in a joint May 13 statement that actors associated with the government of the People’s Republic of China have attempted to identify and obtain intellectual property and public health data related to vaccines, treatments and testing for the COVID-19 pandemic. The two agencies said the potential theft of such information jeopardizes “the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options,” and recommended that all organizations conducing COVID-related research to counter the threat with sustained cybersecurity and insider threat practices. Those engaging in research related to the pandemic should assume that any accompanying publicity “will lead to increased interest and cyber activity,” and that any unusual activity by users of IT infrastructure should perhaps result in suspension of access.

The U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia said Patrick Wolfe, of Belleair Beach, Fla., has been accused of taking part in a Medicare kickback and telemedicine scheme that was perpetrated by Wilmington Island Medical Inc. The charges include allegations that Wolfe and others paid kickbacks for leads provided by physicians and nurses, which were signed orders for services provided under Medicare Parts B and C. The investigations into Medicare fraud perpetrated within the jurisdiction of the Georgia Southern District office is said to have totaled in excess of $475 million to date.

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