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Comments on a proposed acquisition cost survey to inform Outpatient Prospective Payment System payment rates for 340B drugs are due March 9.

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The Ways and Means legislation would preserve the ability of providers and health plans to negotiate payment rates through independent dispute resolution, while the Education and Labor plan would impose federal benchmark rates for charges of more than $750.

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Amid federal gridlock, 2019 was a prolific year for state-level policymaking on important issues for essential hospitals and their communities.

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In its bipartisan proposal on surprise medical bills, the House Committee on Ways and Means would preserve the ability of providers and health plans to negotiate the payment rate for out-of-network care. Also, the president releases his FY 2021 budget plan, including $920 billion in Medicaid cuts.

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The Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act of 2020 takes an important step toward a solution to surprise medical bills that protects patients and increases transparency without putting hospitals at a disadvantage in negotiations with insurers.

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The proposal calls for $920 billion in cuts to Medicaid funding, including a call to finalize the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation.

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The new authorization allows any CDC-qualified laboratory to use the 2019-nCoV diagnostic test. Each test kit can evaluate up to 800 patient samples.

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A new rule allows CDC to require that airlines collect and provide data on passengers and crew arriving from foreign countries for health education, treatment, prophylaxis, or other public health interventions.

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The “Healthy Adult Opportunity” Medicaid Section 1115 demonstration waiver allows states to provide coverage for select Medicaid populations under aggregate or per-capita caps and assume increased accountability in exchange for greater flexibility to test alternative implementation approaches.

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America’s Essential Hospitals has appointed two essential hospital leaders to fill at-large vacancies on the association’s board of directors.

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University of Utah Health Care joins a small but growing group of essential hospitals exploring the use of drone technology to deliver medical supplies.

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GAO found that state Medicaid programs did not always have written procedures to identify 340B drugs and prevent duplicate discounts. Even when states have written policies and procedures, GAO found they were not always adequate to prevent duplicate discounts.

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CMS issued the 2021 notice of benefit and payment parameters proposed rule and draft letter to issuers updating regulatory and financial standards for plans offered on the health insurance marketplaces. CMS is not proposing any changes to network adequacy standards.

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The agency reports that cybercriminals could send "phishing" emails purporting to include infection prevention information related to the new coronavirus (2019-nCOV) outbreak.

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As the impeachment trial ends, House and Senate leaders will transition back to their legislative priorities, including reducing out-of-pocket health care costs.

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The Department of Homeland Security will evaluate applications for immigration benefits postmarked or submitted electronically on or after Feb. 24. The agency will not consider any newly added public benefit categories that the applicant received before Feb. 24.

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CMS issued guidance outlining how states can receive a block grant or per-capita cap in exchange for additional administrative flexibility. Through a Section 1115 demonstration waiver, these new financing arrangements would apply to coverage of optional Medicaid patient populations.

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In response to a joint proposal, America’s Essential Hospitals expressed concern about mandating the public posting of payer-specific negotiated rates and urged the departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services to seek alternatives that better serve consumers.

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Patient trust in health care providers is associated with positive outcomes, yet few studies have explored patient trust in hospitals, particularly those serving vulnerable populations. Essential Hospitals Institute is working to fill that knowledge gap.

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America's Essential Hospitals examines the complicated issue of price transparency and how to ensure patients receive clear, usable information to make informed decisions about their care.

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Build Healthy Places Network is surveying community development corporations about their work with health care partners to improve health in marginalized communities; the survey is due Feb. 7.

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In its submitted comments, the association outlines overarching and specific problems that necessitate withdrawal of the rule to protect the stability and viability of the Medicaid program.

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The proposal would "cut at the very core of the Medicaid program by introducing unprecedented restrictions on states’ ability to fund their share of the Medicaid program," America's Essential Hospitals says.

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CMS plans to transition to a unified Medicare Care Compare portal this spring that will combine and standardize the eight existing tools and allow a single point of entry for quality information.

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This month’s data refresh is based on the existing, flawed methodology used during the last update of star ratings in February 2019.

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Health care consumers need accurate, relevant information to make the best care decisions; the current star ratings do not meet this need. The ratings rely on a methodology that fails to account for differences among hospitals and, therefore, could mislead rather than inform consumers.

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America's Essential Hospitals encourages members to share their concerns about the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation with Congress and CMS. Meanwhile, the House returns to health care business after a one-week recess, and the Senate impeachment trial continues.

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Five cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the United States; CDC will host a Jan. 31 call for clinicians to share updated guidance about the virus.

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The U.S. Supreme Court decision will accelerate the rule’s chilling effect, causing people legally in this country to forgo medical treatment for fear of putting their immigration status at risk. This will increase costs for taxpayers and the entire health care system.

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America’s Essential Hospitals encourages members to submit by Feb. 1 comments to CMS detailing the devastating impact of the MFAR’s proposed provisions and to urge House and Senate members to weigh in with the administration.

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DHS now can enforce the public charge rule everywhere but Illinois. The stay on the injunction will remain in place until the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit makes a final decision on the merits of the government’s appeal.

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This recall includes more than 9 million gowns designed for use in procedures such as open heart surgery and knee replacements.

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Despite a growing awareness of the impact of social determinants of health on patient health outcomes, the CMS study found challenges to consistent data collection, including a lack of standardized screening tools and inconsistent use of electronic health record codes.

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CMS issued a request for information seeking input on coordinating care from out-of-state providers for medically complex children who are eligible for Medicaid coverage. The agency will use the information collected to produce guidance to state Medicaid directors.

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The proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation would sharply curtail flexibility states now have to finance and structure Medicaid to serve vulnerable people. Congress must step in immediately and demand that CMS withdraw this damaging rule in its entirety.

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Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington join dozens of other states already enforcing laws to shield patients from balance billing.

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At essential hospital Boston Medical Center, changing the language we use is the first step in changing the way we treat people with substance use disorder.

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The issues are related to the validation process for Windows Elliptic Curve Cryptography certificates and the Windows remote desktop client. The Department of Health and Human Services is urging health care providers to install patches to minimize their risk.

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In an amicus brief, America's Essential Hospitals joined other national hospital associations in calling for an expedited Supreme Court review of a case that will determine the future of the Affordable Care Act. The court on Tuesday denied the expedited schedule.

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A panel convened by the National Institutes of Health culminated in an evidence report that includes 26 recommendations for improving implementation of proven services to reduce disparities in preventable conditions.

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Spring 2020 Policy Assembly

Our first Policy Assembly of 2020 will give our members an opportunity to build on existing relationships, create new ones, and educate lawmakers and their staff about the vital role essential hospitals play in their communities.

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VITAL2020

Join us June 17-19 in Chicago for a program unequaled in its focus on the mission-driven hospital. VITAL2020 will arm you with the knowledge you need to keep your hospital on the forefront of innovation.

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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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