What We’re Reading: COVID-19 Pill Data to FDA; Vaccinated Travelers to Be Allowed in US; Michigan Boosts Mental Health Clinic Funding

Merck has submitted data on its COVID-19 pill to the FDA after a successful trial; air, land, and ferry travelers will be allowed into the United States in November if they show proof of vaccination; 13 of 33 certified community behavioral health clinics in Michigan will be reimbursed by Medicaid.

Merck Requests Emergency Authorization for COVID-19 Pill Molnupiravir

Molnupiravir is a twice-daily pill developed by Merck that has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19, and it could be widely used as a treatment in the near future if approved for emergency use, The Washington Post reported. Molnupiravir is an antiviral pill given to people with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 to prevent them from developing severe cases. Merck has submitted data to the FDA after a successful trial and plans to apply for emergency authorization in other countries as well. An FDA advisory committee will meet on November 30 to discuss the emergency use authorization request and set a timeline for molnupiravir’s use.

Foreign Travelers Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Allowed in US November 8

The White House has decided that foreign travelers vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed into the United States starting November 8, NPR reported. Those traveling by air will have to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days before boarding the plane. Land and ferry travelers will also have to show proof of vaccination, but will not be required to get tested. The White House will clarify what counts as proof of vaccination in the coming weeks, emphasizing there will be very limited exceptions to the requirements.

Behavioral Health Clinics in Michigan to Receive Additional Medicaid Funding

Starting this month, 13 mental health and addiction clinics across Michigan will receive the same Medicaid funding as any other health center, the Associated Press reported. The selected certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs) will now be fully reimbursed by Medicaid instead of relying on grants to supplement costs. There are 20 other CCBHCs providing 24-hour crisis care in Michigan that have not yet been approved for Medicaid reimbursement. This decision was made in an effort to bridge the divide between mental and physical health in terms of both funding and stigma, and it will allow for more staffing and resources for these clinics.