Nineteen Missouri residents are facing charges for their alleged roles in a $1.2 million insurance fraud conspiracy as part of a 69-count superseding indictment. Authorities said the defendants participated in a conspiracy that submitted false claims of injuries suffered in car accidents to insurance companies, defrauding six companies of a total of over $1.2 million from June 2017 to July 2020.
An Operation Warp Speed document sent to governors estimates that initial shipments of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered Dec. 15, to be followed by Moderna's vaccine Dec. 22, but these distribution dates are contingent on the FDA's decision to grant emergency authorization for both vaccines. According to the document, an estimated 18 million doses of Moderna's vaccine and 22.5 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine will be manufactured this month.
The CDC soon will release new guidelines reducing the recommended quarantine period for people who have come in contact with COVID-19-positive individuals to between seven and 10 days, down from 14 days under current recommendations, according to senior administration officials. These "close contacts" of infected individuals would be able to end their quarantine in as early as seven days if they get a negative COVID-19 test result.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday rejected a $908 billion COVID-19 relief package introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, noting that he prefers to advance a "targeted relief bill" this year. During a GOP caucus call the same day, McConnell reportedly offered new COVID-19 relief legislation that could receive support from the White House, and it includes protections against COVID-19 lawsuits, extension of unemployment insurance, another round of Paycheck Protection Program small business assistance, and additional funding for vaccine distribution, testing, schools and the Postal Service.
States are now testing their vaccine data systems in preparation for the expected rollout of two COVID-19 vaccines in a few weeks amid a continued spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 across the US reached 98,691 Tuesday, the highest figure yet, while 157,900 new cases and nearly 2,200 deaths were reported, bringing the nationwide tally to 13.5 million cases and 268,200 fatalities.
The CMS has released the 2021 final rule for the Medicare physician fee schedule, which will increase payments for primary care and chronic disease management physicians while reducing payments for emergency physicians and other health care providers as the program is required to be budget neutral. The rule added over 60 services to the list of telehealth services that Medicare will cover beyond the public health emergency declaration.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice has recommended prioritizing health care workers and residents and workers in long-term-care facilities as those who should be the first recipients of upcoming COVID-19 vaccines. Should ACIP's recommendation be followed, the initial supply of vaccines will be administered to an estimated 21 million health care workers and 3 million individuals working or living in long-term-care facilities.
Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine received emergency approval from the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on Wednesday, making the UK the first country to approve the vaccine. The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses, which is sufficient to inoculate 20 million people, and the MHRA said the first doses will be made available across the country starting next week.
The CDC has said that 78% of US coronavirus deaths between May and August were among adults age 65 and older, but regular home-based exercise may help reduce risk in that age group. Exercise doesn't just improve overall health, it can also improve immune system efficiency in identifying and targeting disease pathogens.
Millions of people in the US have lost jobs and health insurance coverage this year, swelling Medicaid rolls by 4 million by July and leaving state leaders scrambling for ways to meet budget constraints amid declining tax revenue. Options under consideration include reducing health care provider reimbursements and eliminating benefits like vision and dental coverage, says Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University.
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