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Abigail Painchaud

Policy Associate

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

The Biden administration proposes to rescind a Trump-era final rule requiring federally qualified health centers to charge certain low-income patients no more than the 340B Drug Pricing Program price for insulin and injectable epinephrine. Comments on the proposed rule are due July 16.

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The interim guidance covers physical and mental health conditions present four or more weeks after some COVID-19 infections, including by patients who initially had mild or asymptomatic acute infections.

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America's Essential Hospitals and 11 additional national groups sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services urging the agency to partner with stakeholders who can offer technical expertise and context in developing the supplemental payment reporting system.

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Several states have reached or surpassed President Joe Biden's goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the U.S. adult population by July 4. However, other states lag behind; in 15 states, less than half the adult population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Several states have enacted fiscal year 2022 budgets that include line items related to the pandemic. For example, Florida budgeted $326 million to continue response efforts and Washington allocated money to hire case investigators, contact tracers, and other positions to respond to COVID-19.

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Six states — Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Oregon, and Washington — are experiencing a frequency of COVID-19 variants, first identified in Brazil and South Africa, greater than 10 percent. FDA recommends providers in these states use only the REGEN-COV monoclonal antibody for treatment.

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As states begin to lift COVID-19 restrictions, several also are choosing to lift their emergency declarations for the pandemic. Virginia launches the nation's first statewide health equity dashboards.

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In response to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for fully vaccinated people, several states, including Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, have lifted their statewide mask mandates.

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The interpretive guidance includes information on hospital admission, discharge, and transfer notification requirements outlined in CMS' May 2020 interoperability and patient access final rule.

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The Department of Treasury released an interim final rule related to the distribution and allocation of $350 billion in funding for state, local, metropolitan city, and tribal governments; the funding was included in the American Rescue Plan Act.

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HHS will interpret and enforce the Affordable Care Act's prohibition on discrimination "on the basis of sex" to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The change comes in response to a Trump administration rule in June 2020 that removed protections for transgender and LGBTQ individuals.

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The agency seeks input, information, and recommendations from stakeholders on equity assessments and strategies, barrier and burden reduction, procurement and contracting processes, financial assistance, and stakeholder and community engagement.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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In recent weeks, several states passed legislation related to the COVID-19 public health crisis, including bills establishing vaccination authority, patient rights, and data reporting requirements. Utah on April 10 will lift its statewide mask mandate.

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In a new HHS Office of Inspector General report, hospitals highlight challenges associated with the public health emergency — including barriers to care delivery and vaccination, staff burnout, supply shortages, and declining revenue — that have strained the nation's health care delivery system.

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People experiencing homelessness face barriers to vaccination, including lack of transportation, limited availability of technology, and no established connection to a health care provider. More than 30 states have specifically prioritized vaccinations for homeless populations.

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In accordance with the presidential regulatory freeze, HHS proposes to further delay until July 20 a final rule requiring federally qualified health centers to charge certain low-income patients no more than the 340B Drug Pricing Program price for insulin and injectable epinephrine. 

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A new White House Gender Policy Council, established via executive order, will coordinate efforts to advance gender equity and equality across executive departments and agencies.

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In a letter, America's Essential Hospitals urges swift allocation of the remaining funds in the $178 billion Provider Relief Fund and calls for another targeted distribution to hospitals omitted from the first two safety-net distributions, among other requests.

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New York establishes an advisory council on trauma-informed care for workers on the front lines of COVID-19. The advisory group will develop reports on immediate needs for front-line health workers and findings and recommendations on long-term, trauma-informed care for these individuals.

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So far, 26 states and Washington, D.C., publicly report varying data on race and ethnicity for individuals who have received the vaccination. States also have taken different approaches to addressing disparities in vaccine administration and vaccine hesitancy.

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