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Carl Graziano

Senior Director of Communications America's Essential Hospitals

Graziano is senior director of communications for America's Essential Hospitals.

Lawmakers continue work a permanent solution to fund the federal government in fiscal year 2023. Six senators release a request for information on ways to improve care and care coordination for dually eligible beneficiaries.

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Our proposal would codify a designation of essential hospitals in statute, allowing lawmakers to better target support to improve access to care and public health.

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The document is the latest in a series addressing mental health policy challenges and focuses on increased integration, coordination, and access to care. A fifth and final document could be released in coming weeks.

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With the 2022 midterm elections two weeks away, congressional lawmakers have started the sprint toward Election Day. Must-do items, including legislation to fund the federal government, will keep them busy in the post-election period.

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The Biden administration extended the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) through Jan. 11, 2023, and would notify providers by Nov. 11 of ending the PHE after that date. The decision extends PHE-related waivers and policies.

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A new commentary in Health Affairs Forefront argues for creating a federal designation for essential hospitals to ensure they receive the support needed to meet their safety net mission. Also, the association publishes its annual member characteristics report, Essential Data 2022.

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On Sept. 30, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 16. The legislation also continues several federal health programs through that same date and extends U.S. Food and Drug Administration user fees for five years.

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In a new Forefront commentary, the association's current, immediate past, and incoming board chairs say essential hospitals’ indispensable role, unique characteristics, and financial fragility argue for recognizing them as a distinct class in public health and policymaking.

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Bipartisan legislation to fund the government through mid-December saw progress with a deal to reauthorize FDA user fee programs, but obstacles remain to a final bill before the Sept. 30 end of the current fiscal year.

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This annual snapshot of America's Essential Hospitals' membership tells a story about the essential people and communities our members serve.

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Congressional negotiators are holding closely the details of talks on short-term legislation expected to extend government funding through mid-December and avert a shutdown at midnight, Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

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The Biden administration encourages organizations to commit to working toward its goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030.

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Lawmakers are working to balance Democrats' calls for more COVID-19 and Monkeypox funding under a continuing resolution with Republicans' demands for a "clean" bill to fund the government through the November midterm elections.

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Lawmakers return to their states and districts for August recess following last week's passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill includes provisions of note for essential hospitals, including those to extend Affordable Care Act subsidies and fight climate change.

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President Joe Biden signed the legislation Aug. 16 after the House sent it to his desk with a 220-207, party-line vote. It extends Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025 and makes other changes of interest to essential hospitals.

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The bill, which passed by a 51-50 margin, would extend Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, invest in measures to mitigate climate change, and make other changes of interest to essential hospitals.

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The rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services includes numerous policy and payment changes important to essential hospitals, including a 4.3 percent increase in inpatient payment rates for fiscal year 2023.

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The regulation contains payment and quality reporting provisions, a new designation to identify “birthing-friendly” hospitals, and a 4.3 percent increase in operating payment rates for general acute-care hospitals, compared with a proposed 3.2 percent update.

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The $433 billion Inflation Reduction Act would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and would extend expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies for three years. It also includes tax provisions and new investments related to energy and climate change.

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Work continues on a bill to advance through the reconciliation process by a Sept. 30 deadline. America's Essential Hospitals is pressing lawmakers to include more support for essential hospitals in the final package.

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Senate Democrats work to pass a revived human infrastructure bill before the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30. The updated legislative language includes a Medicare prescription drug pricing proposal approved by all 50 Senate Democrats.

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FDA approves the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in individuals ages 12 to 15 and authorizes state-licensed pharmacists to prescribe Paxlovid.

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FDA advises vaccine manufacturers to incorporate an omicron variant component into booster doses; Pfizer requests FDA approval of antiviral pill Paxlovid.

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CDC recommends the Moderna vaccine for kids ages 6 to 17; an FDA committee will consider modifying COVID-19 vaccine composition to reflect virus mutations.

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The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act seeks to close gaps in current gun safety laws and bolster mental health care, including through new support for hospitals and other providers.

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The committee released a discussion draft of policies to improve youth mental health, the second of an expected five discussion drafts from the committee in advance of their full mental health legislative proposal.

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CDC recommends that children ages 6 months to 5 years receive a COVID-19 vaccine; Pfizer study data shows Paxlovid failed to alleviate COVID-19 symptoms.

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CDC no longer requires a negative COVID-19 test or proof of COVID-19 recovery from travelers to the United States; an FDA advisory committee recommends the Novavax vaccine.

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Amid gun control negotiations and the Jan. 6 hearings, House appropriators will unveil their initial plans for fiscal 2023 spending with a goal of marking up all 12 appropriations bills before the July Fourth recess.

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An FDA advisory committee deliberates the safety of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine and will consider amendments to Pfizer's and Moderna's authorization requests later this month.

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Both chambers of Congress return from the Memorial Day recess to a packed legislative agenda, including possible action on curbing gun violence following the Uvalde, Texas, shootings. Democratic leaders continue to negotiate possible paths to infrastructure legislation.

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