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The emergency temporary standard aims to protect those working in health care settings where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated.

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A bipartisan infrastructure plan is unlikely to pass the Senate by July. Democrats are likely to explore using budget reconciliation, but a recent parliamentarian ruling indicates they might be unable to attempt the process using the FY 2021 budget resolution.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is issuing $80 million in grant funding for navigators in states using the federal insurance marketplace for the 2022 plan year.

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President Biden announces a National Month of Action to vaccinate 70 percent of U.S. adults by July 4; Moderna applies for FDA approval of its vaccine.

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Several states have enacted fiscal year 2022 budgets that include line items related to the pandemic. For example, Florida budgeted $326 million to continue response efforts and Washington allocated money to hire case investigators, contact tracers, and other positions to respond to COVID-19.

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WHO announces new names for SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern; two NIH studies show that mRNA vaccines are safe for pregnant people.

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Republicans offer a $928 billion counterproposal to President Joe Biden's $1.7 trillion infrastructure package. Leaders of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and House Committee on Energy and Commerce seek information on developing a public health insurance option.

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Six states — Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Oregon, and Washington — are experiencing a frequency of COVID-19 variants, first identified in Brazil and South Africa, greater than 10 percent. FDA recommends providers in these states use only the REGEN-COV monoclonal antibody for treatment.

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We welcome the administration’s desire to focus on social determinants of health, such as housing and education, and reduce health disparities. But we are disappointed to see the budget include policies from the previous administration that would undermine the value of the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

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Lawmakers will be back home for the Memorial Day recess. Take advantage of this time to contact your Senate and House members and remind them of timely essential hospital priorities.

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FDA lengthens the refrigerator storage time for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. A new CDC site aggregates state and local COVID-19 funding opportunities. The Department of Health and Human Services allocates $4.8 billion to the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program.

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As states begin to lift COVID-19 restrictions, several also are choosing to lift their emergency declarations for the pandemic. Virginia launches the nation's first statewide health equity dashboards.

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The Senate confirmed Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Several Senate committees last week examined issues of importance to essential hospitals, including telehealth, hospital consolidation, and the medical supply chain.

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Brooks-LaSure takes the reins at CMS at a critical juncture for our nation, as COVID-19 and its lingering economic effects make access to health care coverage more important than ever. Her knowledge of, and experience with, Medicaid and Medicare make her well suited to meet these challenges.

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The Kaiser Family Foundation, in collaboration with UnidosUS, launched the La Conversación campaign to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for Latino communities. The campaign features more than 75 videos and complements earlier resources for Black communities.

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This State Policy Snapshot examines the policies and initiatives states are pursuing to dismantle structural racism and achieve health equity. 

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In response to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for fully vaccinated people, several states, including Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, have lifted their statewide mask mandates.

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The interpretive guidance includes information on hospital admission, discharge, and transfer notification requirements outlined in CMS' May 2020 interoperability and patient access final rule.

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The Senate voted to advance the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator; a full Senate vote could take place this week. America's Essential Hospitals hosted a virtual Capitol Hill briefing in recognition of the association's 40th anniversary.

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The Department of Treasury released an interim final rule related to the distribution and allocation of $350 billion in funding for state, local, metropolitan city, and tribal governments; the funding was included in the American Rescue Plan Act.

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New CDC recommendations no longer require people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear a mask or physically distance.

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The Health Resources and Services Administration enforcement action marks a crucial victory for essential hospitals, which have seen their access to drugs with 340B discounts cut off by manufacturers since last summer.

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In letters to manufacturers, HHS makes a clear and forceful statement about the manufacturers’ illegal limits on access to 340B Drug Pricing Program discounts.

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HHS will interpret and enforce the Affordable Care Act's prohibition on discrimination "on the basis of sex" to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The change comes in response to a Trump administration rule in June 2020 that removed protections for transgender and LGBTQ individuals.

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The agency seeks input, information, and recommendations from stakeholders on equity assessments and strategies, barrier and burden reduction, procurement and contracting processes, financial assistance, and stakeholder and community engagement.

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The new data on essential hospitals comes in the association’s annual snapshot of its members, Essential Data: Our Hospitals, Our Patients.

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This annual snapshot of America's Essential Hospitals' membership tells a story about the essential people and communities our members serve.

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A proposed rule from CMS includes numerous changes for Medicare’s Inpatient Prospective Payment System for fiscal year 2022, including a 2.8 percent increase in inpatient payment rates and updates to quality reporting programs and the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

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States are using varying techniques to encourage the public to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Some states are linking vaccination rates to loosening restrictions or offering financial incentives to those receiving a vaccine, while others focus on forming partnerships to scale up vaccination efforts.

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In a letter to the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR), America's Essential Hospitals responds to proposed changes to privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. OCR outlined the changes in a Jan. 21 proposed rule aiming to improve the transition to value-based care.

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In a set of letters, America’s Essential Hospitals urges the administration and congressional leaders to address pressing facility needs of essential hospitals and the health care safety net.

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A CDC brief updates transmission methods; Pfizer applies for FDA approval of its vaccine; CMS increases the Medicare payment for monoclonal antibodies.

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In a new interim final rule with comment period, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services revises the rules for certain hospitals seeking a wage index reclassification with the Medicare Geographic Classification Review Board.

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President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with House and Senate lawmakers this week to discuss a bipartisan path forward on infrastructure legislation ahead of his fiscal year 2022 budget proposal. The Senate is expected to confirm Andrea Joan Palm as deputy secretary of health and human services.

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The Patient Experience Interest Group will facilitate peer-to-peer exchange of challenges and approaches to improving patient experience.

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The new interest group will give like-minded professionals opportunities to collaborate and access valuable anti-racism and equity tools and resources.

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The Essential Communities Resource Library now includes strategies to target structural racism as a social determinant of health.

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Eskenazi Health in February launched a virtual town hall series to share information about the development, safety, and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

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New CDC guidelines walk back outdoor mask regulations for fully vaccinated people; two research studies examine adverse reactions to the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

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The Office of Minority Health page includes tools for data collection and analysis, developing language access plans, and strategic plan creation.

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Virtual VITAL2021

Registration is open for VITAL2021, our virtual annual conference! Join us online, June 22–25, for four days of education and networking to stimulate thinking, inspire action, and energize essential hospital leaders.

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Essential Data

Our annual profile of our members’ work and the people and communities they serve, Essential Data: Our Hospitals, Our Patients,  shows the indispensable care they provide for all people, regardless of financial and social circumstances.

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Grant Opportunity

America’s Essential Hospitals is working with the CVS Health Foundation to support up to 10 member hospitals with existing programs to improve obstetric care for Black maternity patients.

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