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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 association thanked the administration for taking steps to reverse the damaging 2019 broadened definition of public charge and made recommendations for developing and implementing a new definition.

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The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education introduced two rural track program designations to accredited residency programs and seeks members for an advisory group on health care access for medically underserved areas and populations.

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The proposed fiscal year 2023 Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule would increase operating payment rates by 3.2 percent and make other changes to Medicare payment and quality reporting policies. CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule until June 17.

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Citing a depletion of funds for the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program, the agency says the last day for providers to submit claims for testing and treatment is March 22 and the last day to submit vaccine administration claims is April 5.

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The laws prohibit pharmacy benefit managers and insurance companies from discriminating against 340B Drug Pricing Program contract pharmacies and covered entities.

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Coupled with the $11 billion previously distributed, this brings total phase 4 payments to about $11.5 billion, leaving less than $6 billion in pledged funds. These new funds will reach more than 4,000 providers across the United States this week.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services outlines the application process for 1,000 new graduate medical education slots created by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Applications for the first round of slots are due March 31, 2022, and CMS intends to award slots July 1, 2023.

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The Department of Homeland Security proposed rule is a step toward withdrawing and replacing the controversial public charge regulation issued by the Trump administration. The new definition would include only cash benefits and long-term institutionalization. Comments are due April 25.

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The Department of Health and Human Services will distribute $19.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to help train primary care residents to provide quality care to diverse populations and communities, particularly in underserved and rural areas.

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The funds will reach more than 7,600 providers across the country this week; $6 billion in pledged phase 4 funds remain undistributed.

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The Medicare Part B drug model, also known as the most favored nation model, would have phased-in reduced payment rates for 50 Part B drugs over four years. America's Essential Hospitals previously called on CMS to withdraw the model.

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Providers now have until Dec. 20 to report lost revenue and expense information related to the receipt of Provider Relief Fund payments.

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A new Department of Health and Human Services report finds the share of Medicare visits conducted via telehealth increased from about 840,000 in 2019 to 52.7 million in 2020. In particular, telehealth was helpful in offsetting potential foregone behavioral health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The proposed rule aims to strengthen and preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which is critical to the nation's health care workforce. The association urges the Department of Homeland Security to formally add the policy through the notice-and-comment rulemaking process.

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The rule adjusts the conversion factor used to determine physician payment rates and includes provisions related to appropriate use criteria, Medicare reimbursement for telehealth services, vaccine payment rates, the Quality Payment Program, and the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

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The Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System final rule for calendar year 2022 continues cuts to hospitals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program and pauses elimination of the inpatient-only list. The rule also includes provisions on price transparency, rural emergency hospitals, and health equity.

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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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The Department of Homeland Security will use the notice-and-comment rulemaking process to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

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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 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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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 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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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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CMS proposes to rescind the Trump administration’s Most Favored Nation model interim final rule, which aimed to reduce payment for 50 Medicare Part B drugs. America’s Essential Hospitals previously urged the agency to withdraw the model due to substantive and procedural issues.

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CMS on Aug. 2 released its fiscal year 2022 Inpatient Prospective Payment System final rule, which includes payment and quality reporting provisions. The rule does not finalize provisions related to new residency slots, organ acquisition costs, or Section 1115 waiver days. 

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The administration has created a new website, StopRansomware.gov, to help government agencies and the private sector understand the threat of ransomware, mitigate risk, and learn how to respond to a ransomware attack.

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A bulletin from the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services notes the withdrawal of the 2019 public charge rule and addresses states' role in safeguarding applicant and beneficiary information. The public charge rule was vacated and is no longer in effect, retroactive to March 2, 2021.

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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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