The World Health Organization posted an interim guidance on the rational use of personal protective equipment during shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that telemedicine and telephone hotlines be used whenever feasible to evaluate suspected cases. The update also recommends that non-urgent, elective surgical procedures be delayed, and that admitted patients with COVID-19 and no other transmissible microorganisms should not be roomed with non-COVID patients.
The U.S. FDA posted a June 7 update on decontamination of respirator masks for the COVID-19 pandemic, listing several products that should not be decontaminated for use by health care professionals. The agency said that federal government testing of masks manufactured in China “may vary in their design and performance,” and thus the removal of the affected items from the emergency use authorization list for reprocessable masks. The FDA further noted that respirators with exhalation valves are no longer under the EUA for decontamination.
The U.S. Congressional Budget Office said in a June 5 report that the federal deficit for the current fiscal year may reach $3.7 trillion, assuming Congress introduces no changes to current law and no additional emergency funding is provided for the economy. The deficit may reach $2.1 trillion in fiscal 2021, and CBO said it had previously projected deficits of only about $1 trillion for each of these two fiscal years in a March 2020 report. Between fiscal years 2020 and 2030, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act may increase deficits in the aggregate by $8 billion, while the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will add $192 billion to the deficits over that same span of time. Two other pieces of legislation, the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act may boost deficits by $1.7 trillion and $483 billion, respectively.
Boston Scientific Corp., of Marlborough, Mass., said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has granted the company’s application for a transitional pass-through payment under the Medicare outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS), which is applicable to the company’s Exalt Model D single-use duodenoscope. The new pass-through code (C1748) is operational as of July 1, 2020, the company said.