FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON — Legislation passed today by the House of Representatives includes helpful policies that respond to the pressing needs of essential hospitals, their vulnerable patients, and front-line caregivers as they confront the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the addition of $100 billion in emergency aid, the HEROES Act would bring vital support to our hospitals as they continue to grapple with the pandemic’s enormous medical, logistical, and financial challenges. We applaud the thoughtful work of House lawmakers to ensure these emergency funds are distributed more equitably than previous allocations.
The HEROES Act would take important steps to support the safety-net mission of essential hospitals, which care for the disadvantaged people and underserved communities disproportionately harmed by COVID-19. This bill would preserve and enhance critical funding sources on which these hospitals depend by increasing federal Medicaid dollars to states and blocking the administration’s damaging Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation.
We also appreciate lawmakers’ forward-thinking approach, which considers how long it will take hospitals to regain their financial footing. Relieving and extending the repayment terms for Medicare accelerated payments will help. But the right thing to do for essential hospitals and the economy would be to forgive these payments, allowing these hospitals to remain focused on the financial needs of today, such as making payroll and purchasing scarce medical supplies and equipment.
America’s Essential Hospitals thanks House leaders for recognizing the sacrifice of caregivers on the front lines at our hospitals. Providing hazard pay by establishing a COVID-19 Heroes Fund is the least our nation can do to recognize the courageous work of these essential caregivers.
We look forward to working with lawmakers in both chambers of Congress to ensure these and other policy priorities for essential hospitals become law.
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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at essentialhospitals.org.