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The new guidance and deadline apply to all provider relief fund allocations to date except the Health Resources and Services Administration uninsured program, nursing home infection control distribution, and rural health clinic testing distribution.

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As a highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variant spreads across the country, CDC issues two new vaccination toolkits; HHS alters its Provider Relief Fund reporting timeline.

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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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CDC shares information about two highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 variants, allergic reactions in Pfizer vaccine recipients, and vaccines for pregnant people.

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CDC announces target groups for phases 1b and 1c of COVID-19 vaccine allocation; a new brief recommends strategies for building vaccine trust.

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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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A new final rule from the Health Resources and Services Administration provides details on the long awaited administrative dispute resolution process, including the composition of a dispute resolution panel, types of claims covered entities and manufacturers can bring before the panel, and more.

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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 $2.3 trillion package to fund the government, provide new COVID-19 relief, and stimulate the economy would eliminate a $4 billion cut to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments and add $3 billion to the Provider Relief Fund, among numerous other changes.

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FDA issues an emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine and an at-home antigen test; a CDC committee votes on allocation recommendations.

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Congress' first actions in the new year include deciding how to conduct business with the continuing COVID-19 threat and certifying the Electoral College votes for U.S. president. In the House, lawmakers will vote to select a speaker.

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Final rules for Medicare’s Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Physician Fee Schedule for calendar year 2021 continue Medicare Part B drug payment cuts to hospitals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program and site-neutral payment policies.

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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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FDA authorizes the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use; HHS expands hospital COVID-19 data reporting requirements to include therapeutic data.

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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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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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CDC recommends groups to prioritize in vaccine distribution and revises antigen testing guidance.

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Essential Hospitals are on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, committed to serving populations disproportionately harmed by the pandemic. We urge lawmakers to pass legislation before the end of the year that includes essential hospital priorities.

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Unless Congress acts by December 11, Medicaid DSH funding will be cut by $4 billion—a third of all program funding—while COVID-19 continues to spread and impact patients and communities served by essential hospitals.

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Current and future threats to the 340B Drug Pricing Program jeopardize the ability of essential hospitals to tailor services and programs to their community and further strain their limited finances while they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The two rules, finalized Nov. 20, aim to eliminate barriers to care coordination and undue burden under current fraud and abuse laws. One provides exceptions to the physician anti-referral law, and one modifies existing safe harbor protections under the anti-kickback statute.

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The rule builds on an International Pricing Index model CMS first outlined in an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in late 2018. The mandatory model will include most providers and suppliers who purchase and receive reimbursement for Medicare Part B drugs.

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CMS establishes a conversion factor of $32.41 — a decrease of $3.68 from CY 2020. The final rule also includes provisions related to Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services, the Quality Payment Program, and the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

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Moderna applied for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine; CDC issued ethical vaccine application principles and updated face mask guidance for health care workers.

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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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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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In the lame-duck session, Congress will focus on stopping a Medicaid DSH funding cut, averting a government shutdown, and providing COVID-19 relief. The House passed bipartisan bills to enhance research on minority health disparities, address the opioid crisis, and support trauma centers.

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On Nov. 9, CMS issued a final rule largely adopting policies overhauled by the Obama administration in 2016. The final rule reflects the agency’s broader strategy to relieve regulatory burden, support state flexibility, and promote transparency and innovation in the delivery of care.

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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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Urge your senators and representatives to contact congressional leadership immediately and demand legislation before the end of the year that includes essential hospital priorities. 

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The project will support coalition work to target social determinants of health outcomes related to chronic conditions.

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