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(c) 2020 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Emergency Federal Coronavirus Funding - Better late than never

The recently enacted emergency coronavirus Federal funding legislation will offer some support to ease the burden of the epidemic on the workers’ compensation benefit system. Since the containment phase has been hampered by the lack of valid test kits, the US is now entering the mitigation phase. The additional resources to treat and eliminate the credible COVID-19 virus epidemic will prove beneficial.

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, [CPRSAA] 2020 (March 6, 2020) will provide much needed initial funding to ease the universal shortage of medical supplies, ie. masks, protective gear and medical equipment-respirators. Unfortunately, the distribution of this financial aid appears to be serious geographically imbalanced. NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday chided New York's congressional delegation for negotiating an $8 billion coronavirus emergency funding package that left New York with only $35 million.

Distancing oneself at six feet from others has been recommended to avoid this extremely contagious disease. Health providers are now going to be permitted expanded use telephonic communication with patients under Federal reimbursement rules that will probably be universally adopted by workers’ compensation medical providers as the coronavirus epidemic continues. 

Relevant provisions of CPRSAA are:

Food and Drug Administration
$61,000,000, to remain available until expended, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including the development of necessary medical countermeasures and vaccines, advanced manufacturing for medical products, the monitoring of medical product supply chains, and related administrative activities.

Small Business Administration
Administrative expenses to carry out the disaster loan program authorized by section 7(b) of the Small Business Act, $20,000,000, to remain available until expended.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
$2,200,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2022, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally.

National Institutes of Health
$836,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2024, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally.

Public Health and Social Service Emergency Fund
$3,100,000,000, to remain available until September30, 2024, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, including the development of necessary countermeasures and vaccines, prioritizing platform-based technologies with U.S.-based manufacturing capabilities, and the purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, necessary medical supplies, medical surge capacity, and related administrative activities.

Department of State
"Diplomatic Programs’’, $264,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2022, for necessary expenses to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including for maintaining consular operations, reimbursement of evacuation expenses, and emergency preparedness.

Additionally, the Telehealth Services During Certain Emergency Periods Act of 2020 [TSDCRPA] incorporated in the recent legislation package will reduce face-to-face contact by health care workers and ill victims of the disease, thus reducing the risk of transmittal of this high contagious disease to health care workers and reduce community spread.

Hopefully this remedial and late first step by the Federal government will be not be too late.


Relating information:




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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman 1.973.696.7900 jon@gelmans.com has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.
Twitter: jongelman
LinkedIn: JonGelman
Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" West-Thomson-Reuters