Legislative Update: Week of August 31, 2020

Aug 31, 2020


On Monday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance for COVID-19 diagnostic testing. Under the new guidance, people without symptoms who have been in close contact with a patient with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes do not necessarily need a test – unless they are vulnerable or it is recommended by a healthcare provider or public health officials. Additionally, the new guidance states that if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in close contact with any individuals that have them, you do not need a test. However, at least 33 states continue to recommend testing for asymptomatic people who have been exposed to the virus in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Also on Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued updated guidance that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule permits covered health care providers and health plans to contact their patients and beneficiaries who have recovered from COVID-19 to inform them about how they can donate their convalescent plasma to help treat others with COVID-19.

MassBio’s hosted its annual State of Possible Conference virtually on Wednesday and Thursday, which gathered some of the brightest minds in the life sciences to debate industry issues and celebrate our successes. For those who missed the conference and want a preview of what was covered, please download our program guide here. You can also watch the sessions and award presentations on MassBio’s YouTube channel.


On Monday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that intends to establish a Medicare coverage pathway to speed beneficiary access to “new, innovative medical devices designated as breakthrough by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” The pathway, named the “Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology” (MCIT) pathway, would provide coverage 4 years from the date of FDA market authorization.

And on Tuesday at 1 pm, the federal Oversight Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis will host Treasury Secretary Mnuchin for a hearing on the Trump Administration’s response to the ongoing economic crisis.

Massachusetts’ Primary Election takes place Tuesday, September 1. More than 950,000 residents received mail-in ballots, and for those voting in-person, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin has stated that local officials are going to great lengths to ensure polling locations observe social distancing guidelines and provide personal protective equipment, plexiglass guards, and spacing for workers. You can find your Massachusetts voter registration status, here.

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