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Shahid Zaman

Principal Policy Analyst America's Essential Hospitals

Shahid Zaman is a senior policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

The OPPS proposed rule would continue cuts to hospitals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program and off-campus provider-based departments, pause the elimination of the inpatient-only list, and increase penalties for failing to report standard charges.

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The rule includes provisions related to telehealth, vaccine payment rates, the Quality Payment Program, and the Medicare Shared Savings Program; comments are due to CMS by Sept. 13.

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Notable to essential hospitals, the Biden administration's July 9 executive order includes health care items related to prescription drugs, price transparency, hospital consolidation, and health insurance.

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The Supreme Court’s decision to review the case marks a significant step in the association’s efforts to overturn harmful Medicare Part B cuts to hospitals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case in its next term, with a decision likely in 2022.

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Providers who received Provider Relief Fund dollars and are required to document their use during reporting period 1 (April 10–June 30, 2020) have until Sept. 30 to access the portal and submit the information.

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America's Essential Hospitals commented on several policy proposals of interest to essential hospitals in the Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule and responded to a request for information on closing the health equity gap in hospital quality programs.

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America's Essential Hospitals urged the agency to ensure essential hospitals receive much-needed relief and are equipped for their central role in the continued response to the pandemic, including allocating remaining Provider Relief Fund dollars and revising guidance on the use of these funds.

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In its June report to Congress, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission issues recommendations on issues of importance to essential hospitals, including payment for Part B drugs, alternative payment models, indirect medical education payments, and Medicare coverage of vaccines, among other topics.

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The Biden administration proposes to rescind a Trump-era final rule requiring federally qualified health centers to charge certain low-income patients no more than the 340B Drug Pricing Program price for insulin and injectable epinephrine. Comments on the proposed rule are due July 16.

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The lawsuit, brought by individual plaintiffs and 18 Republican-led states, argued the ACA’s individual mandate was unconstitutional and that the entire ACA had to be dismantled as a result. The court's decision was made on procedural grounds and did not rule on the underlying merits of the case.

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The new timeline for spending and reporting on Provider Relief Fund (PRF) dollars depends on when a provider received the payments. The PRF reporting portal, which so far has been open only for registration, will open July 1 for providers to begin reporting on the use of their PRF payments.

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The Kaiser Family Foundation, in collaboration with UnidosUS, launched the La Conversación campaign to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for Latino communities. The campaign features more than 75 videos and complements earlier resources for Black communities.

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The interpretive guidance includes information on hospital admission, discharge, and transfer notification requirements outlined in CMS' May 2020 interoperability and patient access final rule.

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The Health Resources and Services Administration enforcement action marks a crucial victory for essential hospitals, which have seen their access to drugs with 340B discounts cut off by manufacturers since last summer.

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In a letter to the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR), America's Essential Hospitals responds to proposed changes to privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. OCR outlined the changes in a Jan. 21 proposed rule aiming to improve the transition to value-based care.

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In a new interim final rule with comment period, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services revises the rules for certain hospitals seeking a wage index reclassification with the Medicare Geographic Classification Review Board.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ proposed fiscal year 2022 Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule would increase operating payment rates by 2.8 percent, repeal market-based data collection, and add 1,000 new graduate medical education teaching slots, among other provisions.

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Everyone in the United States ages 16 and older is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine; CDC's advisory committee will meet April 23 to discuss the Janssen vaccine pause.

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The FCC announced the filing window for the second round of applications for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program will open at noon ET on April 29. The agency plans to award funding in two phases so applicants have the opportunity to provide supplemental information if they initially are denied funding.

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CDC and FDA recommend pausing Janssen COVID-19 vaccine administration after six U.S. reports of blood clots; HHS expands the Health Center Vaccine Program.

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At least 29 bills in 17 states involve health services for patients who are transgender, and many of these efforts specifically focus on youth populations. Several states proposed restricting access to transgender health care, by prohibiting or criminalizing gender-affirming care.

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The Office of National Drug Control Policy outlines the Biden administration's drug policy priorities for 2021, including expanding access to evidence-based treatment and prevention services, advancing racial equity, reducing supply of illicit substances, and advancing recovery-ready workplaces.

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In a newly issued report and order, the Federal Communications Commission provided more information on the application and evaluation process for the second round of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The application window will open within 30 days of the order.

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In a new HHS Office of Inspector General report, hospitals highlight challenges associated with the public health emergency — including barriers to care delivery and vaccination, staff burnout, supply shortages, and declining revenue — that have strained the nation's health care delivery system.

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In its March report to Congress, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommends payment updates in fee-for-service payment systems, including for hospital inpatient and outpatient services. The panel also outlines Medicare coverage of telehealth services during the pandemic and beyond.

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In accordance with the presidential regulatory freeze, HHS proposes to further delay until July 20 a final rule requiring federally qualified health centers to charge certain low-income patients no more than the 340B Drug Pricing Program price for insulin and injectable epinephrine. 

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In a letter, America's Essential Hospitals urges swift allocation of the remaining funds in the $178 billion Provider Relief Fund and calls for another targeted distribution to hospitals omitted from the first two safety-net distributions, among other requests.

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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 document outlines acceptable approaches to calculate and report median payer-specific negotiated charges by Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Group for reporting periods ending on or after Jan. 1, 2021.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin reprocessing outpatient claims to excepted off-campus provider-based departments at the lower site neutral payment rate it established in the calendar year 2019 Outpatient Prospective Payment System final rule.

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The website contains FAQs on the administrative dispute resolution (ADR) panel and board, the monetary threshold for filing an ADR claim, the types of documentation stakeholders must provide as part of the ADR process, and other information.

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