$46 Billion Federal Request for Local Tracing and Isolation
April 30, 2020
In California, state and local governments have been tirelessly working to increase testing capacity, expand the contact tracing workforce, and housing vulnerable populations. This week, we saw a request to the federal government to financially assist in these efforts.
The former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS), Andy Slavitt, and the former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, both signed onto a request for $46 billion to expand on testing, tracking and isolation of COVID-19 positive individuals, in the next COVID-19 assistance package. In a letter sent to congressional leadership, the former federal officials identified testing, tracking and isolation investments as key to any reopening plan. Specifically, the letter requests:
- $12 billion to expand the workforce for contact tracing. The authors estimate an additional 180,000 contract tracers are needed to adequately perform this duty under the current conditions.
- $4.5 billion for isolation facilities such as hotels. The authors estimate these facilities will be needed for approximately 18 months.
- $30 billion for income support for individuals who need to self-isolate. The estimate is based on a $50 per day stipend for during the 14 day self-isolations.
- CMS establish a referral payment code for COVID-19 positive patients being referred to contract tracing resources, by their primary care physician.
In the next week, Congress will be returning to Washington, D.C. to flesh out current proposals and identify additional needs throughout the country. The $46 billion request will be one of many investments hoping to be placed in the next federal package.