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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reverses guidance that asymptomatic patients do not need to be tested. The agency also announced a new semiweekly publication summarizing COVID-19 studies.

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As the country works to expand COVID-19 through testing, every state has submitted a testing strategy to the federal government. Most state plans prioritize vulnerable populations and offer testing for uninsured individuals.

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In a letter to state Medicaid directors, CMS outlines lessons learned from previous initiatives, offers a comprehensive toolkit and examples of value-based care models, and highlights changes to existing flexibility.

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An Operation Warp Speed strategy summarizes the federal government's plan for distributing and administering a COVID-19 vaccine.

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More than 40 percent of U.S. adults report delaying or avoiding care due to COVID-19 fears; FDA shares vaccine development updates.

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With community partnerships already underway through California's Whole Person Care initiative — part of its Section 1115 Medicaid waiver — localities in California found it easier to reach vulnerable communities at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

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Lawmakers have less than three weeks to fund the federal government through the November election before current funding runs out. The prospect of Congress advancing COVID-19 relief legislation before the election appears unlikely.

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Nearly 250 members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expressing concerns about recent actions by several drug manufacturers to impose policy changes that would undermine the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

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America's Essential Hospitals thanks the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for recognizing the potential for unintended consequences of its proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation and withdrawing this potentially damaging rule.

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America’s Essential Hospitals and more than 20 other advocates and federal agencies today announced an action plan on patient safety. The plan recognizes that systemic racism and other societal inequities can cause harm to concentrate in certain populations, and it calls for using safety data to identify gaps related to social determinants of health.

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Policies finalized for the 2021 Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System call for increasing inpatient payment rates by 2.9 percent, reducing Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments, and collecting median Medicare Advantage charge data.

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We strongly support this letter and oppose the damaging actions by manufacturers to undermine the 340B program for covered entities, including essential hospitals.

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Care Compare merges the agency's eight health care provider comparison tools into one interface; price and provider data are now available through an application programming interface.

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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a preliminary framework for equitable allocations of a COVID-19 vaccine that rests on foundational principles, including maximizing benefits, fairness, mitigating health inequities, equal regard, evidence-based work, and transparency.

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The Senate reconvenes and is expected to consider a COVID-19 relief package. The Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing on COVID-19 vaccines. A bipartisan group of House lawmakers circulates a letter to HHS expressing concern about drug manufacturer attacks on 340B contract pharmacies.

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HHS announced that assisted living facilities can now apply for a relief fund payment from the second-phase general allocation. The agency also released information on how it will determine incentive payments under the nursing home allocation.

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Essential hospitals serving complex patients can use the actionable information in this guide to replicate and implement NYC H+H’s process.

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The finalized fiscal year 2021 Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule includes payment and quality reporting provisions. The rule goes into effect Oct. 1; CMS has waived the 60-day delay in effective date due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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In a Sept. 1 letter, America's Essential Hospitals urged HHS to prioritize remaining Provider Relief Fund dollars for hospitals still in need, especially those that have yet to receive a payment from any targeted allocation, such as the safety-net and high-impact distributions.

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CDC no longer encourages asymptomatic people to get tested; FDA expands its remdesivir emergency use authorization and authorizes a new antigen test with instant results.

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The new frequently asked questions address how to report provider relief payments on cost reports, charges reimbursed through the Provider Relief Fund uninsured program, and Small Business Administration loan forgiveness amounts.

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America's Essential Hospitals urges HHS to prevent drug manufacturers from restricting access to life-saving drugs in the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Manufacturers recently notified covered entities that the companies will cease shipping 340B-priced drugs to some pharmacies; other manufacturers are requiring biweekly data on all contract pharmacy claims.

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Hospitals have until Sept. 14 to complete the 340B Drug Pricing Program recertification process. Covered entities that fail to create OPAIS accounts and conduct recertification will be removed from the program.

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Opportunities are dwindling for congressional negotiators to agree on additional COVID-19 relief legislation. During this last week of the August recess, essential hospitals should tell their delegations to urge House and Senate leadership to expeditiously address essential hospital needs.

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As Hurricane Laura tore through Texas and Louisiana, both states grappled with the devastating effects of the hurricane amid ongoing efforts to mitigate COVID-19. The pandemic has made it significantly more difficult to follow general hurricane preparedness procedures and protect vulnerable residents.

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In the interim final rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services establishes that hospitals and critical access hospitals must report certain information, at a frequency and in a standardized format, as specified by the Department of Health and Human Services during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in an interim final rule announced new Medicare condition of participation requirements for hospitals to report COVID-19 cases and related data to the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Proposed rules for Medicare’s Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Physician Fee Schedule for calendar year 2021 would deepen Medicare Part B drug payment cuts to hospitals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, continue site-neutral payment policies, and revise the overall hospital star rating meth

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Providers now have until Sept. 13 to apply for additional payment from the general allocation of the Provider Relief Fund. The initial deadline was Aug. 28.

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Positive tests must be demonstrated using only the results of viral testing (i.e., molecular or antigen), consistent with CDC guidelines. The test may be performed either during or prior to the hospital admission.

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Many states are engaged in some form of advanced and rapid contact tracing to help contain the spread of COVID-19. In Wisconsin, the state Department of Health created a web-based tool to help residents gauge their exposure to COVID-19.

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CMS issued an information bulletin outlining two approaches for states to reflect third-party payer payments in calculations of uncompensated care costs used to determine hospital-specific Medicaid disproportionate share hospital limits.

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FDA issued an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma treatment of COVID-19 patients, along with guidance for pooled testing and screening.

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The House took a brief hiatus from its August recess to return to Washington for a vote on legislation to prevent policy changes at the U.S. Postal Service. House leaders rejected a push to hold a concurrent vote on COVID-19 legislation that would extend enhanced unemployment benefits.

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In a new report, association member Norwegian American Hospital, an urban hospital filling a safety-net role in Chicago, outlines its journey and challenges faced during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Recent actions by pharmaceutical manufacturers hinder access to affordable medications for millions of people who face financial hardships and defy clear statutory requirements that they provide drugs to 340B Drug Pricing Program covered entities.

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HHS announces $6.5 million in testing investments; CDC issues antigen testing guidance; HHS partners with Moderna to manufacture and deliver its vaccine.

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The agency announced that Medicare Part C enrollee days, otherwise known as Medicare Advantage days, would be included in the calculation of the Medicare fraction used to determine Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments for years prior to fiscal year 2014.

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The Department of Health and Human Services will distribute $1.4 billion in Provider Relief Fund payments to nearly 80 free-standing children's hospitals.

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Medicaid Summit: A Virtual Event

COVID-19 has presented the nation’s health care system with unprecedented challenges. Join fellow essential hospital leaders on Oct. 5 and 6 at our virtual summit featuring two Medicaid-focused tracks: public policy and finance.

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Coronavirus Resources

America’s Essential Hospitals has established this resource page for its member hospitals and others with an interest in this public health crisis. Visit this page regularly for new and updated information.

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Essential Data

Our annual profile of association membership, Essential Data: Our Hospitals, Our Patients, illustrates the challenges that influence health and weigh heaviest on the people and communities essential hospitals serve.

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