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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.

The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill would ensure essential hospitals receive the same level of Medicaid DSH payments as they would have absent the pandemic. Xavier Becerra's nomination as secretary of health and human services is expected to reach the Senate floor as early as next week.

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Congress races to pass COVID-19 relief through the budget reconciliation process before enhanced unemployment benefits expire March 14. Senate committees hold confirmation hearings for Xavier Becerra as secretary of health and human services.

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The House is expected to vote on a compiled reconciliation bill the week of Feb. 22. The Senate for the second time has acquitted former President Donald Trump of impeachment charges. House members are circulating a bipartisan letter calling for protections to the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

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House and Senate committees are working on the details of COVID-19 relief under the budget reconciliation process. The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is underway; members of both parties have indicated they prefer a short and swift trial.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer unveiled a joint budget resolution to advance President Biden's COVID-19 relief priorities through budget reconciliation. Senate leaders have yet to agree on an organizing resolution finalizing operations for the 117th Congress.

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The second Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is expected to begin in early February, with Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) presiding. House committees with jurisdiction over health care issues add new members to their rosters.

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For the second time, the House has impeached Donald Trump — this time, for his role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack. Law enforcement descends on Washington amid threats of violence surrounding the inauguration. The Biden transition team releases a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan.

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Following the uprising at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers completed their constitutional duty and certified Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris. Meanwhile, Democrats swept special elections in Georgia, giving the party 50 Senate seats.

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In the first week of the new Congress, lawmakers will focus on certification of Electoral College votes and a Georgia special election that will determine which party controls the Senate. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was re-elected speaker of the House.

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The advisory opinion, favorable for essential hospitals, responds to actions by several drug manufacturers to restrict the ability of 340B Drug Pricing Program covered entities to receive program discounts on drugs dispensed at contract pharmacies.

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The continuing resolution delays until Dec. 19 a scheduled $4 billion cut to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments. Meanwhile, lawmakers introduce a new, two-part $908 billion legislative proposal for COVID-19 relief, as well as a deal on legislation regarding surprise medical bills.

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Congress indicates plans to pursue a one-week continuing resolution to keep the government funded at current levels through Dec. 18. A group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced a framework for a $908 billion COVID-19 relief deal, reinvigorating negotiations between Republicans and Democrats.

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Without congressional action, the government on Dec. 12 will enter a shutdown and $4 billion will be cut from Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments. Meanwhile, negotiations are deadlocked on additional COVID-19 relief.

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Senators re-elect their leadership teams, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); the House will vote on party leadership this week. Senate Republicans introduce $1.4 trillion legislative package to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2021.

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Lawmakers will prioritize funding for the federal government and additional COVID-19 relief. Join America's Essential Hospitals for a Nov. 18 webinar analyzing the impact of the elections on essential hospitals and health care policy. Registration open for our postelection Policy Assembly, Dec. 8–9.

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In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, America’s Essential Hospitals called on the department to withdraw a proposal that could affect the ability of essential hospitals to hire and retain international medical graduates in residency programs.

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The threat involved malicious actors using Trickbot malware to compromise information technology systems, including by engaging in ransomware attacks, data theft, and the disruption of health care services.

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has pushed back the starting date for compliance with information blocking provisions from Nov. 2, 2020, to April 5, 2021.

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The new FAQs specify that a provider may use PRF payments to cover the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. Providers also may use PRF funds to prepare for the distribution of a vaccine before it becomes available.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated guidance for mask use on public transportation; the Food and Drug Administration has expanded its list of approved remote patient monitoring devices during the pandemic.

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In Nov. 2 comments on the interim final rule, America's Essential Hospitals strongly opposed new hospital conditions of participation related to reporting COVID-19 data and urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to withdraw these requirements.

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In a response to Republican leaders of House and Senate committees with jurisdiction over the 340B Drug Pricing Program, America's Essential Hospitals said the program needs no fundamental reforms and continues to provide vital support to essential hospitals.

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With the arrival of Election Day, the next opportunity for a new COVID-19 relief package might not happen until after the new year. America's Essential Hospitals has opened registration for Policy Assembly, a virtual event scheduled for Dec. 8 and 9.

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Responding to concerns raised by the association and lawmakers, the Department of Health and Human Services has altered detrimental reporting requirements for the Provider Relief Fund, including one regarding lost revenue.

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A bipartisan House letter urges the administration to rescind harmful Provider Relief Fund reporting changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says an agreement must be reached by Tuesday to pass COVID-19 relief legislation before Election Day; the Senate will vote this week on targeted COVID-19 relief.

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Congress is no closer to passing further COVID-19 relief after a tumultuous week of negotiations. Senators urge HHS to reconsider recent guidance on Provider Relief Fund payments. The Senate Judiciary Committee begins confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

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The Senate this week will consider a continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown the day before the fiscal year ends. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asks committee chairs to draft revised COVID-19 legislation as she reopens negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on COVID-19 relief.

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As the nation mourns the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, attention on Capitol Hill is focused who will fill her seat and how soon the confirmation process will begin. Meanwhile, Congress has about a week to pass a continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown.

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Opportunities are dwindling for congressional negotiators to agree on additional COVID-19 relief legislation. During this last week of the August recess, essential hospitals should tell their delegations to urge House and Senate leadership to expeditiously address essential hospital needs.

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The House took a brief hiatus from its August recess to return to Washington for a vote on legislation to prevent policy changes at the U.S. Postal Service. House leaders rejected a push to hold a concurrent vote on COVID-19 legislation that would extend enhanced unemployment benefits.

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The Senate officially adjourned for August recess; House lawmakers will return to Washington this weekend to address postal service funding.

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