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Abigail Painchaud

Policy Associate

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

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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America's Essential Hospitals sent a letter to President Joe Biden and his administration detailing key priorities for essential hospitals, including issues related to structural racism, COVID-19, Medicaid, the 340B Drug Pricing Program, site-neutral payment policies, immigration, and other topics.

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The special enrollment period, intended to ensure access to health coverage amid the the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue through May 15. The enrollment period applies to consumers in the 36 states that use the federal marketplace platform.

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Some states are holding back COVID-19 vaccines after receiving fewer than expected doses and grappling with logistical challenges scheduling second shots. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines could be administered up to 42 days apart.

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A new executive order calls on agencies to review public charge rules enacted under the Trump administration. Two other executive orders establish an interagency task force to reunite immigrant families and create a comprehensive regional framework to address the causes of migration.

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency is supporting vaccination sites in 19 states and U.S. territories. States vary in their approaches to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to children; some are prioritizing subpopulations of children while others are involving child health stakeholders in planning.

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In his first week in office, President Biden released multiple executive orders of note to essential hospitals, including those related to COVID-19, health equity and nondiscrimination, and immigration.

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The regulatory freeze could affect rules directing health clinics to pass certain drug discounts on to patients, establishing minimum standards in Medicaid state drug utilization review, and modifying Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy arrangements.

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Three new National Governors Association task forces will focus on pandemic and disaster response, economic recovery and revitalization, and community renewal.

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In response to COVID-19 surges, California issued an order to preserve resources and ensure hospitals can care for critically ill patients. Most states adopt Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations for prioritization of vaccines, but 14 states modified the guidelines.

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This is the first approval of its kind and will allow the state to have more control over financing its Medicaid program.

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A new notice encourages states to improve health outcomes, reduce disparities, and lower costs within Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. It describes how states might address social determinants of health using flexibility available under current law.

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The CDC data tracker shows COVID-19 vaccine rollout has varied significantly across the country. While Connecticut, New Hampshire, and South Dakota have administered at least 60 percent for their available vaccine doses, Arizona and Georgia have not yet administered 20 percent of their vaccines.

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Managed care organizations can participate in direct contracting for their populations dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. The model builds on direct contracting opportunities that test risk-sharing arrangements to reduce Medicare expenditures while preserving or enhancing quality of care.

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A new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services final rule addresses minimum standards in Medicaid State Drug Utilization Review, creates value-based purchasing arrangements with manufacturers, and outlines minimum standards to reduce opioid prescribing–related fraud and abuse.

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Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar extended, effective Jan. 21, the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) determination. The PHE determination has been in place since Jan. 31, 2020; it was set to expire Jan. 20, 2021.

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The next phase of the Maternal and Infant Health Initiative (MIHI) includes a new focus on postpartum care visits, well-child visits, and decreasing rates of cesarean-section births in low-risk pregnancies. A work group developed a set of recommendations and a report on next steps for the MIHI.

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Florida allocates $23 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding to mental health services in the state.

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On Dec. 16, the Health Resources and Services Administration completed its review of Phase 3 applications for Provider Relief Fund money and will distribute $24.5 billion to more than 70,000 providers.

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The administration approved the Pfizer vaccination for emergency use. In preparation, states — including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Washington — have outlined their vaccine distribution plans, which must be submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The California Department of Health released new guidance strongly recommending weekly COVID-19 screening and testing for general acute care hospital staff. California and Oregon are buying entire hotels to support homeless and vulnerable communities.

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The Department of Health and Human Services released a detailed action plan on maternal health and announced a public-private partnership to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. The surgeon general simultaneously announced a call to action to improve maternal health, complementing HHS' plan.

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The National Association of State Budget Officials' annual state expenditures report found total Medicaid spending in state budgets increased 4.4 percent and federal government Medicaid spending increased 8.9 percent in fiscal year 2020.

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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order allowing hospitals to transfer or deny patients when the hospital reaches full capacity. Meanwhile, several states across the nation are hosting special legislative sessions to address COVID-19.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the Acute Hospital Care at Home program to further increase hospital capacity during the COVID-19 crisis, in response to a rising number of hospitalizations nationwide. The program builds on the Hospitals Without Walls initiative.

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FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, says drug and biological product centers will publicly post reviews of the data and information supporting emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for all drug and biological products, including vaccines, as part of the agency's COVID-19 response.

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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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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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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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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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