Advocacy Alert

Urge Your Lawmakers to Support Essential Health System Designation

COVID-19: Hospital Data, Bridge Access Program, FLiRT Variants

Andrea Lugo
May 21, 2024

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that, effective May 1, hospitals no longer are required to report COVID-19 data to the Department of Health and Human Services through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). The agency still strongly encourages ongoing, voluntary reporting of the data through NHSN and noted that there are no changes to NHSN’s capability to receive COVID-19 data.

However, in April 2024, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed to revise the conditions of participation for hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) regarding infection prevention and control and antibiotic stewardship. The new conditions would require hospitals and CAHs to electronically report information about COVID-19, influenza, and RSV in a standardized format beginning Oct. 1.

Bridge Access Program Ends

The CDC also announced that its Bridge Access Program, which provides no-cost COVID-19 vaccines to adults without health insurance and adults whose insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccine costs, will end in August. Until then, patients can visit vaccines.gov to find providers that offer vaccines through the Bridge Access Program.

New Variants

CDC recently detected a newly circulating set of variants, nicknamed “FLiRT”, which all derive from JN.1, an omicron subvariant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. KP.2, one of the FLiRT variants, is currently the dominant strain in the United States.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Director of Policy Rob Nelb, MPH, at rnelb@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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