COVID-19 Federal IT Diary for March 17

The Federal government and other entities are adjusting to and planning for the impact of the spreading COVID-19 coronavirus. Here’s a quick look at some of the top developments of interest to the Federal IT community:

Federal Healthcare Practitioners can Waive Telehealth Co-Pays Without Penalty, HHS Says

Healthcare providers can reduce or waive patient copays for telehealth visits paid for by Federal healthcare programs without penalty throughout the COVID-19 coronavirus public health emergency, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced on March 17. The policy change does not require practitioners to waive the fees, but any patient receiving services covered by their existing Federal insurance plan during the emergency are eligible to have telehealth fees waived. HHS OIG cited the “the unique circumstances” of the pandemic to justify the policy change.

Ruff Life: Teleworking IT Pros Share dog Pics on Twitter
In light of COVID-19, many IT employees have begun teleworking. The Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC), a nonprofit that provides communities with the technical resources necessary to continue operations and begin recovery after a disaster, is working to bring some happiness to counteract the ruff life of social distancing. Today they started their “official” #QuarantineLife working from home thread for #DogsofTwitter and are inviting others to share photos of their new furry coworkers.

House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Postpones Release of Action Plan
The chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis announced March 16 the postponement of its congressional action plan. “For the past year, our Select Committee has been working on a congressional action plan to solve the climate crisis. We’ve met with more than 1,000 stakeholders, reviewed more than 700 detailed responses to our request for information, and were planning to release our comprehensive climate policy recommendations at the end of March,” said Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla. Citing the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Castor said the committee has decided to postpone the release of the climate action plan. No date was given for when the plan will be released.

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