Friday Stats and More

First let’s agree to never forget that the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attack on our country and all of the lives that were cut short on that tragic day.

Based on the CDC’s Cases in the U.S. website, here is the FEHBlog’s chart of new weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths over the 20th through 36th weeks of this year (beginning May 14 and ending September 9; using Thursday as the first day of the week in order to facilitate this weekly update):

and here is the CDC’s latest overall weekly hospitalization rate chart for COVID-19:

Because the FEHBlog does look at his charts which are intended to show trends, he realized that new deaths chart is flat because new cases greatly exceed new deaths. Accordingly here is a chart of new COVID-19 deaths over the same period.

The charts are trending down which is hopeful.

Fierce Healthcare reports on ‘Decision Resources Groups’ two-part [telehealth] survey of 4,855 practicing U.S. physicians conducted in March and April, with a follow-up survey in July.” According to the Group’s press release,

  • As of July 2020, 80% of U.S. physicians had conducted a virtual patient consultation in the previous three months – up from 39% in April and 9% in early March, when use of virtual consults was unchanged over 2019 levels
  • This trend likely portends more multi-modal care delivery post-pandemic, with physicians making greater use of video visits, emails and phone calls with patients as a means of supplementing traditional in-person visits. Among those physicians surveyed in June and July who said they had conducted virtual consultations in the past three months, 52% said they will likely continue to do so after COVID-19 mitigation measures have ended.
  • However, barriers to telemedicine use remain – 58% of U.S. physicians have lingering reservations about the quality of care they can provide remotely.

In federal and postal employment news, Federal News Network reports that

The Office of Management and Budget has, at last, offered up more information on the president’s payroll tax deferral, which the Trump administration will implement for most federal employees and military members later this month. But the guidance is brief, vague and leaves many questions unanswered.

The Wall Street Journal informs us that the Postal Service will not be implementing the payroll tax deferral.

Law360 reports that “The U.S Department of Labor issued much-anticipated regulations Friday [September 11] laying out who qualifies for emergency paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, revising parts of a rule that a New York federal judge recently struck down.” The Labor Department’s press release explains that “the revisions do the following:

  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that employees may take FFCRA leave only if work would otherwise be available to them.
  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that an employee have employer approval to take FFCRA leave intermittently.
  • Revise the definition of “healthcare provider” to include only employees who meet the definition of that term under the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations or who are employed to provide diagnostic services, preventative services, treatment services or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care which, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care.
  • Clarify that employees must provide required documentation supporting their need for FFCRA leave to their employers as soon as practicable.
  • Correct an inconsistency regarding when employees may be required to provide notice of a need to take expanded family and medical leave to their employers.”

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