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Abigail Painchaud

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

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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International Infection Prevention Week, Oct. 18–24, highlights the role of infection preventionists in protecting health care workers and patients from COVID-19.

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A Kaiser Family Foundation annual survey finds states expect to see Medicaid enrollment spike more than 8 percent in fiscal year 2021 due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a vaccines web resource with helpful COVID-19 information. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced new actions to pay for expedited COVID-19 test results.

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Following the Supreme Court's denial of hospitals’ appeal petition, the D.C. Circuit’s decision upholding CMS' third-party payer final rule will stand. This allows CMS to require the offset of third-party payments in calculating the hospital-specific disproportionate share hospital payment limit.

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California released a Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which includes an equity measure to ensure California reopens its economy safely by reducing disease transmission in all communities. Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded crisis counseling grants to more than 30 states.

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The proposed rules would deepen Medicare Part B cuts to hospitals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, continue site-neutral payment policies, and revise the overall hospital star rating methodology. The association urged CMS to protect funding for essential hospitals and access to care.

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An upcoming webinar and stakeholder toolkit support the new $20 billion general distribution of the Provider Relief Fund; the application period runs through Nov. 6.

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Providers will have one year from the issuance date of their Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program funds before they must begin to repay their loans. Providers may apply for an extended repayment schedule and may not use Provider Relief Fund dollars to pay back the Medicare loans.

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Effective Oct. 23, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar issued a renewal of determination that a public health emergency exists as a result of the continued effects of COVID-19.

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A new $20 billion distribution of the Provider Relief Fund is open to eligible providers on the front lines of the pandemic, including those who already received PRF payments and need additional support, certain previously ineligible providers, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers.

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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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 decision limits a block on implementation and enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security public charge rule to only three states: Connecticut, New York, and Vermont. The nationwide injunction on the Department of State's public charge rule is still in effect.

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A new report, from a National Quality Forum (NQF) 25-person technical expert panel, provides insight on how quality measures can be combined in a system to improve health outcomes and drive high-value care for all.

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Governors from six states — Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia — announced a bipartisan interstate compact to expand COVID-19 testing, stop the spread of the virus, and help state economies safely recover.

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The Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Pharmacy Affairs will hold an Aug. 12 webinar on the 2020 340B Drug Pricing Program recertification process. Hospitals must complete the recertification process by Sept. 14 to remain in the program.

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Many states — including North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina — are designating CARES Act funds to assist hospitals. The National Governor's Association outlines best practices for distributing potential COVID-19 vaccines.

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A federal district court blocked for the duration of the public health emergency the nationwide implementation, application, and enforcement of a Department of Homeland Security rule expanding the types of public benefits immigration officials consider in making a public charge determination.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the efficacy of telehealth. America's Essential Hospitals asked the administration to permanently expand the list of Medicare reimbursable telehealth services and allow reimbursement of certain services using audio-only technology.

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Effective July 25, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar issued a renewal of determination that a public health emergency exists due to COVID-19.

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The annual 340B Drug Pricing Program recertification period for hospitals will run from Aug. 17 to Sept. 14. Covered entities that fail to recertify will be removed from the program.

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