Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will help build a network of people to track contacts of people who are infected with Covid-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday.
The former mayor is also contributing $10 million to the project, which will be run through the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. The tracing program will be done in coordination with the downstate region as well as New Jersey and Connecticut and will serve as an important resource to gather best practices and as a model that can be replicated across the nation.
The goal is to identify as many people who may have been exposed to the infection, considered essential before businesses and schools can return to normal.
“We’re all eager to begin loosening restrictions on our daily lives and our economy,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “But in order to do that as safely as possible, we first have to put in place systems to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus and support them as they isolate.”
The governor also said,
“The President also agreed, which is a big deal for New York, to waive what’s called the state match for FEMA. Normally a state has to pay 25 percent of the FEMA cost. That would be a cruel irony for New York and adding insult to injury. New York had the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, therefore our cost of FEMA was the highest cost in the nation… So, the President agreed to waive that. That’s a very big deal. That’s hundreds of millions of the dollars to the State of New York.”
In other news:
Another 474 people died in the last 24 hours of the Covid-19 infection, Cuomo said. There are also 5,526 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 257,216. In Suffolk, there are 700 new cases.
The State Department of Financial Services will direct health insurers to provide cash flow relief to, and ease administrative burdens on, New York State hospitals in response to COVID-19. Relief provided to hospitals during the pandemic includes insurers’ immediate payment of outstanding accounts receivables, suspension of preauthorization requirements for all hospital services, and prohibition of retrospective review of claims.
DFS will issue a letter directing health insurers to:
- Immediately process for payment outstanding hospital claims;
- In collaboration with DFS, work with hospitals in insurers’ network to provide additional financial assistance if needed and feasible, focusing on community, rural, and safety-net hospitals;
- Suspend preauthorization requirements for all services performed at hospitals, including lab work and radiology, until June 18, 2020;
- Not conduct retrospective reviews of hospital claims, until June 18, 2020, subject to limited exceptNot make medical necessity denials related to emergency department and inpatient hospital treatment for COVID-19.