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Abigail Painchaud

Policy Associate

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

FDA and CDC endorse expanded eligibility for Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccine doses; Pfizer seeks authorization for its COVID-19 antiviral pill.

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As part of its final report and implementation plan, the Presidential Health Equity Task Force highlighted several states and communities that are improving equitable health care, including California's efforts to expand broadband services, the Cherokee Nation's vaccination efforts, and more.

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The Presidential Health Equity Task Force released recommendations for equitable disbursement of COVID-19 relief funds and culturally aligned communication to people of color and other underserved populations. Meanwhile, the White House announced $785 million in new investments to improve on equity.

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Colorado reactivates its statewide crisis standards of care related to health care workforce staffing, and the state health department approves booster vaccines for all eligible adults. California's Department of Public Health encourages providers to offer booster shots to adults.

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The Kaiser Family Foundation's annual survey of Medicaid directors finds significant changes to Medicaid programs related to COVID-19, as well as increased state efforts to address social determinants of health and improve health equity. A companion survey examined Medicaid spending trends.

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For the second time during the COVID-19 public health emergency, New Mexico enacted crisis standards of care to address critical workforce shortages. The state is experiencing a drastic shortage of health care workers as it battles provider burnout and higher wages offered in other states.

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America's Essential Hospitals submitted comments on the Department of Homeland Security advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on the public charge ground of inadmissibility. Following feedback, the agency plans to engage in the rulemaking process to issue an updated public charge regulation.

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America's Essential Hospitals urged CMS to finalize withdrawal of the Trump administration's Most Favored Nation Model, citing procedural deficiencies, ongoing legal challenges, and significant reduction in provider payment rates.

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Alabama extends its state of emergency, enabling hospitals to relax regulations to expand capacity and allowing out-of-state clinicians to practice in Alabama. A new West Virginia initiative provides hospitals financial and staffing support to avoid the need for care rationing.

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Effective Oct. 18, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the public health emergency (PHE) determination related to the continued effects of COVID-19. The PHE determination has been in place since Jan. 31, 2020.

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Colorado expanded its essential health benefit benchmark plan to enhance coverage for those seeking gender-affirming care, effective January 2023. This expansion is the first of its kind to be approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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The departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor and the Office of Personnel Management issued Part II of the No Surprises Act interim final rule with comment period.

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Providers can simultaneously apply for Phase 4 of the Provider Relief Fund and American Rescue Plan rural payments; applications close Oct. 26. The Health Resources and Services Administration will host a series of informational webinars about the funding application portal.

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Due to increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations, Alaska and Idaho this month enacted statewide crisis standards of care. These standards are used when health care systems are unable to operate normally due to an extreme public health event.

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In a Sept. 20 letter, America's Essential Hospitals welcomes the announcement of additional COVID-19 relief funding but notes the methodology falls short of adequate support for safety net providers. The association urges HHS to issue another targeted safety net distribution, among other requests.

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The rule, released by the Department of Health and Human Service and the Department of Treasury, extends open enrollment, adds a new special enrollment period, expands navigator responsibilities, and modifies Section 1332 innovation waivers.

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aca, hhs

The calendar year 2022 Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule includes provisions on Medicare payment for telehealth services, the Quality Payment Program, and more. The association also responded to a request for information on improving health equity through data collection.

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States facing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases are making efforts to support their increasingly burdened health care workforce. Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested teams to support civilian health care workers treating COVID-19 patients in local state hospitals.

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In response to the calendar year 2022 Outpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule, America's Essential Hospitals urged CMS to halt elimination of the inpatient-only list and to restore adequate payment to hospitals in the 340B program and to off-campus provider-based departments.

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The comprehensive plan includes potential legislative and administrative actions that could be used to lower drug prices. The plan also notes the importance of the 340B Drug Pricing Program and its role in supporting the health care safety net.

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Hospitals have until Sept. 13 to complete 340B Drug Pricing Program recertification through the Office of Pharmacy Affairs Information System.

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As hospitals respond to the rising delta variant and struggle with capacity, some states are calling on hospitals to once again postpone elective surgeries. Executive orders in other states expand flexibility to address health care workforce shortages amid COVID-19 surges.

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In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, America's Essential Hospitals urges the agency to swiftly allocate and target remaining PRF funds, take steps to ensure adequate hospital staffing, expedite full approval of COVID-19 vaccines, and protect the nation's supply chain.

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The Department of Homeland Security released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to gather data and feedback on the public charge ground of inadmissibility. Public comments are due Oct. 22; DHS will host public listening sessions on Sept. 14 and Oct. 5.

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Several state Medicaid programs have begun reimbursing for vaccine counseling services amid efforts across the country to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates. Vaccine counseling services can provide reassurance, education, and clarity to those experiencing vaccine hesitancy.

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will host a series of webinars to discuss information sharing requirements finalized in a 2020 rule. The first webinar, focused on clinicians, will be Sept. 14, from 1–2 pm ET. 

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America's Essential Hospitals outlines concerns with the timeline for implementation and the scope of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's emergency temporary standard (ETS) for occupational exposure to COVID-19.

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In an Aug. 13 letter to state health officials, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services updates its guidance regarding the resumption of normal state Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Basic Health Program operations when the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.

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Arkansas governor holds town halls after state lawmakers deny exceptions to a law prohibiting government agencies from mandating mask use. California will require school staff to be fully vaccinated or tested weekly. Texas asks hospitals to voluntarily postpone elective medical procedures.

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The annual 340B Drug Pricing Program recertification period for hospitals will begin Aug. 16. Hospitals will have until Sept. 13 to complete the process.

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Many governors are taking renewed action to combat COVID-19 as the delta variant spreads. Some states have renewed their public health emergency declarations, while others are mandating vaccinations for certain state workers. However, nine states have enacted laws prohibiting vaccine mandates.

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