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Essential hospitals continue to confront extreme labor costs and staff shortages and need targeted relief from remaining fund dollars and new sources of support.

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In separate bipartisan letters, lawmakers called on the Biden administration to help mitigate dire hospital workforce shortages, particularly among nurses, and protect the 340B Drug Pricing Program from harmful drug manufacturer actions.

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The Biden administration will distribute 400 million no-cost N95 masks; CDC studies highlight the importance of boosters in protecting against COVID-19.

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HHS awarded $103 million to improve health care worker retention by reducing staff burnout and promoting mental wellness. Several essential hospitals were among the awardees, including the University of New Mexico, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Utah.

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The Washington insurance commissioner, state telehealth collaborative, and state health care authority will study proposed methods to measure the impact of audio-only telemedicine on access to health care services for historically underserved communities and geographic areas.

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In response to the proposed rule for the 2023 plan year, the association urged the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure equitable access, finalize nondiscrimination policies, standardize collection of Z codes, and prorate premiums and advanced premium tax credits.

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The relaunched members-only state action page now includes a search-by-state tool and specific areas focused on state responses to COVID-19 and health equity.

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Hospitals are invited to apply for a new learning collaborative to create or enhance office-based addiction treatment programs for opioid use disorder.

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The revised site reflects new information, partner feedback, and industry best practices and includes fact sheets on the agency's AR Laboratory Network and innovative investments to respond to AR globally.

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The U.S. Supreme Court upheld CMS' vaccine mandate but struck down the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's mandate; President Joe Biden announced new initiatives to expand testing access.

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The nomination of Robert Califf, MD, as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration advances to the Senate floor. The Republican-led Healthy Futures Task Force issues several requests for information on telehealth policies and health care affordability.

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Mini Swift, MD, MPH, vice president for population health at association member Alameda Health System, shares how the association’s research tools and Essential Women’s Leadership Academy shaped her career.

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A group of bipartisan lawmakers is circulating a letter outlining concerns about nurse-staffing agencies taking advantage of staffing shortages to increase profits at the expense of patients and hospitals.

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A final rule with comment period from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services addresses the distribution of 1,000 new graduate medical education slots and other policies.

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Effective Jan. 14, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the public health emergency determination related to the continued effects of COVID-19; the determination has been in place since Jan. 27, 2020, and has been renewed every three months.

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) requests $50 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to pay for extra hospital beds across the state; Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) requests $40 million in new ARPA funding to support hospital staffing.

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Essential hospitals should contact their congressional delegations now to share the association's COVID-19 priorities letter and urge lawmakers to pursue a COVID-19 supplemental appropriations package.

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CDC shortens the time between primary vaccine series and booster shot and recommends a Pfizer booster for adolescents; the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on two vaccine mandates; HHS requires coverage of at-home COVID-19 tests, effective Jan. 15.

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House lawmakers noted upcoming federal funding legislation could be an opportunity for additional COVID-19 relief. A Senate committee examines COVID-19 variants and the federal response. Both chambers released draft schedules for their 2022 work.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released guidance and example templates for good faith estimates and the surprise billing patient-provider dispute resolution process.

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) gave her first State of the State address, highlighting plans to retain and grow the state's health care workforce and invest in initiatives to advance health equity.

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The Medicare Part B drug model, also known as the most favored nation model, would have phased-in reduced payment rates for 50 Part B drugs over four years. America's Essential Hospitals previously called on CMS to withdraw the model.

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In response to rising COVID-19 cases, California, Connecticut, and New Mexico will require health care workers to receive a vaccine booster shot.

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The guidance results in a net reduction of about 30 percent of data fields; it adds questions on pediatric data, as well as makes mandatory certain influenza fields. The HHS guidance does not satisfy the requirements of a CMS quality measure on health care personnel vaccination rates.

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America’s Essential Hospitals has selected Jason Pray, a health care policy professional with more than 24 years of experience in Washington, D.C., as its next vice president of legislative affairs.

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FDA expands authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 booster; FDA authorizes two antiviral pills; CMS updates guidance on vaccine mandate compliance.

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New guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reviews the timeline for open negotiations and initiating the federal independent dispute resolution process under the No Surprises Act.

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Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee (D) released a Dec. 22 executive order addressing hospital capacity and flexibility for patient care given recent surges in COVID-19 cases and medical staff shortages.

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Congress is focused on passing the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill before government funding expires Feb. 18. As 2021 came to a close, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced he would not support the Build Back Better Act as currently drafted, stalling the legislation.

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The new document explains various provisions under part II surprise billing regulations, including that all financial assistance should be reflected in the good faith estimate regardless of the amount or type of discount. The new regulations take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

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In the new rule, the agency finalizes proposals on direct and indirect graduate medical education (GME) policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and solicits comments on other GME issues to inform future policymaking.

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The association asked that CMS provide additional time for hospitals to comply with the requirements, especially given the uncertain outcome of pending litigation regarding the administration's vaccine mandate.

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CDC recommends mRNA COVID-19 vaccines be given clinical preference over the Janssen vaccine; the CMS vaccine mandate rule is revived in 25 states.

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A letter to state Medicaid directors defines supplemental payments and designates a system to submit required supplemental payment reports. CMS also notes a lack of data to determine the application of an exception to new rules on Medicaid disproportionate share hospital uncompensated care limits.

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In a new white paper, America's Essential Hospitals discusses essential hospitals' role in value-based payment models and makes recommendations to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation on improving equity through broader model participation.

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A Medicaid budget survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation highlights notable trends in expanding access to behavioral health care using telehealth services. As of July, 45 states covered mental health and substance use disorder care via telehealth.

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Providers now have until Dec. 20 to report lost revenue and expense information related to the receipt of Provider Relief Fund payments.

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The legislation delays looming Medicare payment cuts and creates an expedited pathway for debt limit relief; Senate Democrats this week are expected to release legislative text for a $2 trillion debt limit increase — sufficient to last through the 2022 midterm election.

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FDA authorizes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster for individuals as young as 16; the agency also authorizes a monoclonal antibody for COVID-19 prevention.

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Tarnesa Martin, RN, BSN, brings care from the hospital into the community as association member Hurley Medical Center's inaugural patient resource and community advocate.

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Connect. Inspire. Lead.

Registration for VITAL2022 is now open! Join us in Boston, June 22-24, to gain valuable insights and best practices on the future of care directly from your peers at the nation’s only conference for essential hospitals.

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Apply for Fellows Program

Applications are now open for our Fellows program. For more than 30 years, the program has brought essential hospital leaders together to look at the challenges they face and provide the tools necessary to meet those challenges.

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40 Years Essential

As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we look back at our history through a new timeline website. We are the nation’s foremost champion for hospitals with a mission to care for underrepresented people. This is our story.

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