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The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized rules in conjunction with HHS' regulatory sprint to coordinated care. The OIG rule modifies safe harbor protections; CMS’ rule targets undue burden of the physician self-referral law, or Stark law.

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On Nov. 9, CMS issued a final rule largely adopting policies overhauled by the Obama administration in 2016. The final rule reflects the agency’s broader strategy to relieve regulatory burden, support state flexibility, and promote transparency and innovation in the delivery of care.

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In an interim final rule with comment period, CMS announces a seven-year mandatory payment model set to go into effect Jan. 1. The Most Favored Nation rule builds on an International Pricing Index model; by issuing an interim final rule, the agency bypasses releasing a proposed rule.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention marks U.S. Antibiotics Awareness Week with a new Antibiotic Use Option Report that synthesizes National Healthcare Safety Network data.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Dec. 1 will retire its original Hospital Compare tools, encouraging users to visit Medicare.gov’s new Care Compare tool to find and compare health care providers. CMS will not update the overall hospital quality star ratings in January 2021.

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In its first letter to President-elect Joseph Biden and his transition team, America's Essential Hospitals noted a desire to work together to stabilize the nation's health care safety net and described several administrative policy priorities and paths of partnership.

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Urge your senators and representatives to contact congressional leadership immediately and demand legislation before the end of the year that includes essential hospital priorities. 

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The project will support coalition work to target social determinants of health outcomes related to chronic conditions.

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A new grant program will support work to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into internal medicine education and training.

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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University students and faculty developed a tool to screen patients for social determinants of health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Senators re-elect their leadership teams, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); the House will vote on party leadership this week. Senate Republicans introduce $1.4 trillion legislative package to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2021.

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Many states — including Iowa, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oregon — implement new restrictions as hospitalizations for COVID-19 reach a record high.

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An interim analysis of Moderna Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine shows promising results; CDC guidance highlights that wearing a mask can protect the wearer.

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The Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Plan managed care final rule includes provisions to help reach Medicaid goals, increase network adequacy for managed care plans, and align quality rating approaches.

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FDA grants emergency use authorization for an Eli Lilly antibody treatment; a Pfizer vaccine has promising early results; President-elect Biden names a COVID-19 advisory board.

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Lawmakers will prioritize funding for the federal government and additional COVID-19 relief. Join America's Essential Hospitals for a Nov. 18 webinar analyzing the impact of the elections on essential hospitals and health care policy. Registration open for our postelection Policy Assembly, Dec. 8–9.

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In mid-September, CMS Administrator Seema Verma withdrew the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR) via a tweet, citing stakeholder concerns. America's Essential Hospitals asserts formally withdrawing MFAR would be the best course of action both for CMS and stakeholders.

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Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a joint effort by the departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, on a stakeholder call discussed principles for allocation and distribution of therapeutics, specifically monoclonal antibodies. OWS also released a draft pre-emergency use authorization playbook.

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The decision of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois marks the first time a court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on the merits of the legal challenges to the public charge rule. DHS immediately appealed the case, allowing continued enforcement while the appeal is pending.

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In its fourth interim final rule during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services implements several measures to ensure timely access to a vaccine.

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America's Essential Hospitals applauds the commitment of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President–Elect Kamala Harris to equity, social justice, and access to affordable, high-quality health care.

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The rule sets content elements a plan or issuer must disclose for a covered item or service. The rule also finalizes changes to the medical loss ratio program to allow issuers offering group or individual health coverage to receive credit for certain savings they share with enrollees.

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In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, America’s Essential Hospitals called on the department to withdraw a proposal that could affect the ability of essential hospitals to hire and retain international medical graduates in residency programs.

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The threat involved malicious actors using Trickbot malware to compromise information technology systems, including by engaging in ransomware attacks, data theft, and the disruption of health care services.

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has pushed back the starting date for compliance with information blocking provisions from Nov. 2, 2020, to April 5, 2021.

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The new FAQs specify that a provider may use PRF payments to cover the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. Providers also may use PRF funds to prepare for the distribution of a vaccine before it becomes available.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated guidance for mask use on public transportation; the Food and Drug Administration has expanded its list of approved remote patient monitoring devices during the pandemic.

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In Nov. 2 comments on the interim final rule, America's Essential Hospitals strongly opposed new hospital conditions of participation related to reporting COVID-19 data and urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to withdraw these requirements.

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In a response to Republican leaders of House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the 340B Drug Pricing Program, America's Essential Hospitals said the program needs no fundamental reforms and continues to provide vital support to essential hospitals.

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With the arrival of Election Day, the next opportunity for a new COVID-19 relief package might not happen until after the new year. America's Essential Hospitals has opened registration for Policy Assembly, a virtual event scheduled for Dec. 8 and 9.

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CMS encourages hospitals to download and save historical reports from the Hospital Quality Reporting system before the reports are removed on Dec. 15.

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The interim final rule targets future vaccine costs, price transparency for COVID-19 tests, and enhanced Medicare payments for new COVID-19 treatments.

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New email inboxes set up by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will take questions about the updated guidance for hospital COVID-19 data reporting requirements as part of Medicare conditions of participation.

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Association member UW Medicine, in Seattle, is tackling COVID-19’s long-term effects through a Post-COVID Telehealth Clinic.

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In response to stakeholder and congressional feedback, the Department of Health and Human Services revised reporting requirements for health care providers who receive more than $10,000 total in Provider Relief Fund payments.

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These grants will support projects that implement patient-centered outcomes research evidence into clinical practice through clinical decision support.

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The fellowship aims to help physicians transform health care delivery systems, policies, and practices to improve the lives of disadvantaged populations.

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Hospital COVID-19 data is public on HHS Protect; FDA approves first treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients; CDC redefines "close contact."

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Responding to concerns raised by the association and lawmakers, the Department of Health and Human Services has altered detrimental reporting requirements for the Provider Relief Fund, including one regarding lost revenue.

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The Department of Health and Human Services distributed a lateral flow COVID-19 diagnostic test to states and territories across the country. Several states — including Arkansas, Kentucky, Nevada, New York, Oregon, and Utah—are using the tests to target vulnerable populations.

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Postelection Policy Assembly

This virtual event will take place during the legislative session following the November elections and give essential hospitals an opportunity to influence late-breaking health care legislation.

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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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