Federal Funding Will Ensure COVID-19 Testing, Treatment for Uninsured Pennsylvanians
Providers of COVID-19 testing and treatment will be reimbursed for care given to uninsured Pennsylvanians.

On Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that portions of the funding contained in the stimulus packages passed by Congress in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will be used to reimburse providers offering testing and treatment of the virus for uninsured Pennsylvanians .

The governor said the recent COVID-19 relief bills, both the Family First Coronavirus Relief Act and the CARES Act, require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reimburse health care providers for testing and treating uninsured individuals diagnosed with COVID-19. In addition, the governor said payments will be issued through the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), who is accepting claims from providers as of May 6. Current testing and treatment, as well as services administered as far back as Feb. 4, 2020, will be eligible for reimbursement.

Providers who may be eligible can access the HRSA website to learn what services are covered, determine their eligibility and submit claims.

Covering the testing for COVID-19 is mandatory for individual and marketplace insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The governor reminded residents that they can apply online for both Medicaid and CHIP at www.compass.state.pa.us.

Also on Monday, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency's Director Randy Padfield and PA National Guard Colonel Frank Montgomery joined Gov. Wolf at a press conference to highlight the success of Pennsylvania's emergency management team. The governor stressed the importance of the PA National Guard and PEMA's efforts in coordinating the state’s preparedness and response to COVID-19.
Pa. House returns to session this week, positions additional COVID-19-related bills.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives returned to session this week with plans to take up additional bills to address issues relating to the novel coronavirus and its impacts on the Commonwealth.

On the agenda this week are bills to allow for additional businesses to immediately reopen against Gov. Tom Wolf's business closure orders. This includes legislation to allow for bars and restaurants throughout the state, as well as outdoor sportsmans clubs, to reopen if they follow social distancing and other mitigation efforts to limit the spread of the virus.

Republican leaders in the state's General Assembly continue to challenge the governor's stay-at-home orders and his three-phased plan to slowly reopen the Commonwealth's economy. Last week, the House and Senate sent a bill to the governor's desk that would allow county governments to make COVID-19 mitigation plans and reopen certain businesses within their borders based on CDC guidelines. Also, they approved measures that would open certain businesses across the state, including real estate services, manufacturers, barbers and salons, lawn and garden centers, animal groomers, automobile dealers and messenger services.

In addition, the House plans to take up legislation this week introduced by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai that establishes the Senior Protection Act. The bill, House Bill 2510, would create a framework to protect seniors and others living in long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Turzai worked closely with UPMC health experts to develop the proposal.
Daily COVID-19 update for Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 822 new positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, bringing the state total to 63,056. In addition, 4,505 Pennsylvanians have died from complications from the virus. To date, there have been more than 275,000 negative cases across the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf is still asking all Pennsylvanians who must leave their homes for life-essential reasons to wear a mask to help stop the spread of the virus . An executive order was issued on April 15 requiring customers entering a place of business to wear a mask.

Daily COVID-19 update for Ohio

The Ohio Department of Health reported 28,454 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and 1,657 deaths, including probable cases, by Monday afternoon. There have been 4,998 hospitalizations and 1,328 ICU admissions.
Other News...
Pa. launches emergency unemployment program to extend benefits for 13 weeks. On Sunday, Pennsylvania launched the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program to extend unemployment benefits issued during the COVID-19 crisis for an additional 13 weeks. Pennsylvania has received more than 1.8 million unemployment claims since March 15, according to state government data.

Local school revenue could drop by $1 billion. Pennsylvania school groups are warning state officials that local tax revenue allocated to school districts could fall by nearly $1 billion across the Commonwealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The budgetary shortfalls could cause teacher furloughs and other cost-cutting measures if funding is not provided, according to the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators.

Deaths on Pa. highways hit all-time low. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), statewide highway fatalities last year dropped to its lowest rate since 1928. PennDOT said total fatalities were 11,059 in 2019, 131 less than 2018.

As NASCAR starts its engines, Pocono Raceway in limbo. Gov. Tom Wolf said on Monday that Pocono Raceway may begin NASCAR races at its track only if Monroe County, where the track is located, enters the governor's "yellow" phase. Pocono Raceway is scheduled to host NASCAR races from June 25 to 28.
Unprecedented times, but McNees is here to help
The situation surrounding COVID-19 is changing by the hour. Capitol Buzz will do its best to keep our readers as up-to-date as possible as to local, state and federal actions relating to the virus.

As we have stated in previous editions, for those businesses seeking guidance or assistance on how to proceed during this unprecedented time, please contact the McNees Labor and Employment Practice Group , or for government relations and nonprofit consulting assistance please contact the McNees Strategic Solutions Group (MSSG) .

You can also visit the McNees COVID-19 Article & Resource Page for more information on various legal and political issues created by the novel coronavirus.

For more information on what you can do to protect yourself and others, check out the CDC's coronavirus information page or visit www.health.pa.gov .

The Senate stands in recess until the call of the President Pro Tempore.

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The House stands adjourned until Monday, May 19 at 11:00 a.m.

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