May 5, 2020

Around the nation: Trump to nominate new HHS inspector general

Daily Briefing

    The nomination comes after President Trump recently criticized Christi Grimm, HHS' current acting inspector general, over a recent report that found hospitals did not have sufficient personal protective equipment and testing to address the United States' new coronavirus epidemic, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, New York, and Texas.

    • District of Columbia: The White House on Friday announced that President Trump intends to nominate Jason Weida to serve as HHS' inspector general. Weida currently is serving as an assistant U.S. attorney and has previously worked for the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Policy. Weida would replace Christi Grimm, the principal deputy director at HHS' Office of Inspector General who has served as the agency's acting inspector general since January. The nomination comes after Trump criticized Grimm over a recent report from the office that found hospitals did not have sufficient personal protective equipment and testing to address the United States' new coronavirus epidemic (Axelrod, The Hill, 5/1; Rein, Washington Post, 5/2).

    • New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Saturday announced that the results of a preliminary round of mass antibody testing in the state suggests that 12.3% of New York residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus antibodies. The preliminary study also suggests that 19.9% of New York City residents tested positive for the antibodies, with the Bronx having the highest percentage of positive tests at almost 28% (Rummler, Axios, 5/2).

    • Texas: Federal prosecutors on Friday said Paul Kruse, the former president and CEO of Blue Bell Creameries, has been charged with crimes for allegedly directing a conspiracy to cover up a deadly listeria outbreak tied to the company's products in 2015 that led to three deaths and 10 hospitalizations. Prosecutors claimed Blue Bell distributed products that were made in unsanitary conditions and were contaminated with listeria. The prosecutors also claimed that Kruse covered up the discovery that some of the products tested positive for listeria by instructing an employee to stop testing products for listeria and by failing to order a recall of the affected products. Chris Flood, a lawyer for Kruse, on Friday said Krause is not guilty of the charges (Mele, New York Times, 5/1).

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