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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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President Biden's address to Congress focused on his proposals to rebuild and revamp the nation's infrastructure, including the American Families Plan.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published updated overall hospital quality star ratings on its Care Compare website; the ratings were last updated in January 2020. America's Essential Hospitals has expressed continued concern about the fairness and reliability of the ratings.

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Effective April 28, HHS expanded the group of providers eligible to prescribe buprenorphine, a drug used to treat opioid use disorder, and removed some barriers to its use.

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The Department of Health and Human Services announced $80 million in grants to increase access to marketplace enrollment assistance for consumers. The agency's 2021 open enrollment report shows more than 12 million consumers selected a marketplace plan during the 2021 open enrollment period.

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We applaud the president's focus on equity and building a strong social safety net and his success combating COVID-19, and we urge the administration to ensure ongoing and sustainable support for Medicaid and hospitals' infrastructure needs.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ proposed fiscal year 2022 Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule would increase operating payment rates by 2.8 percent, repeal market-based data collection, and add 1,000 new graduate medical education teaching slots, among other provisions.

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The association is pleased to see policy proposals to improve health care equity in graduate medical education and value-based payment programs and to withdraw burdensome Medicare Advantage data collection requirements.

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Senate Republicans release a $568 billion infrastructure framework to kickstart negotiations. House Democrats and Republicans reintroduce opposing prescription drug pricing bills. A CMS decision delays advancement of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure's nomination for CMS administrator.

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As COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, several states — including California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Washington — have created targeted campaigns to reach marginalized populations disproportionately affected by the public health emergency.

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CDC and FDA lift the pause on Janssen vaccine administration after blood clot reports. Data show COVID-19 patients have long-term health needs.

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We applaud Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and his colleagues for recognizing the need to confront the influence of racism on the social determinants of health. Their resolution is part of the solution to achieving greater health equity.

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The COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) determination has been renewed effective April 21. The PHE determination initially was made Jan. 31, 2020, and has been renewed a total of five times.

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As we reflect on today’s events, we look ahead to the opportunity to come together as a nation, acknowledge the structural and systemic challenges we still face, and continue the hard but necessary work of building a more just and equitable society.

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Everyone in the United States ages 16 and older is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine; CDC's advisory committee will meet April 23 to discuss the Janssen vaccine pause.

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The FCC announced the filing window for the second round of applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program will open at noon ET on April 29. The agency plans to award funding in two phases so applicants have the opportunity to provide supplemental information if they initially are denied funding.

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The president met with a group of bipartisan lawmakers to discuss his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan infrastructure proposal; other lawmakers have expressed interest in a less costly, more targeted package. The Senate Committee on Finance is expected to advance two Biden administration nominees.

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New York is the first state to implement no-cost, voluntary "vaccine passports" — credentials to show proof of inoculation. Hawaii is testing similar technology. Other states have expressed privacy concerns related to vaccine passports, with the governors of Florida and Texas barring such policies.

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Founding member, past board chair, and corporate affiliate member Tom Traylor reflects on the association’s achievements over the past 40 years.

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Extending the Medicare sequester moratorium through the end of this year provides much-needed relief for essential hospitals, which continue to face heavy financial pressure from their front-line response to COVID-19, the association says.

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The waiver makes Illinois the first state to provide continuity of full Medicaid benefit coverage for mothers by extending eligibility during the entire first year after delivery.

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CDC and FDA recommend pausing Janssen COVID-19 vaccine administration after six U.S. reports of blood clots; HHS expands the Health Center Vaccine Program.

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An upcoming members-only learning collaborative will offer expert insight, technical guidance, and peer support to improve Black maternal health outcomes. 

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CDC Director Rochelle Walensky declared racism a serious public health threat and outlined agency efforts to mitigate the impact of racism on public health. The association applauds Walensky's clear statement on systemic racism.

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The House will vote as early as tonight to extend the moratorium on the 2 percent Medicare sequester cut; CMS has held provider claims in anticipation of this bill passing. Meanwhile, lawmakers continue conversations on infrastructure funding and workplace violence prevention.

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America's Essential Hospitals thanks the Biden administration and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky for taking a strong stand on racism as a serious public health threat and for seeking to direct more investments at social determinants of health and mitigating health care disparities.

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HHS and CDC launch a nationwide grassroots vaccine promotion network; CDC issues new guidance on travel, cleaning, and disinfection.

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At least 29 bills in 17 states involve health services for patients who are transgender, and many of these efforts specifically focus on youth populations. Several states proposed restricting access to transgender health care, by prohibiting or criminalizing gender-affirming care.

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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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Tour Population Health Programs

Visit EssentialCommunities.org to learn how our hospitals target social and economic factors to improve health. Take a virtual tour of population health programs nationwide, discover new resources, and share your programs.

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COVID-19 Resources

America’s Essential Hospitals offers a rich and growing collection of general and topical resources for essential hospitals and others with an interest in this pandemic. Visit this library regularly for new and updated information.

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