Senate leaders must advance proposals that would ensure essential hospitals can adequately meet the needs of their staff and the patients and communities they serve amid the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s Essential Hospitals wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The letter outlines key legislative priorities to assist the ongoing response to the public health emergency as Congress considers another supplemental bill. The association calls for Senate leaders to build on proposals in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act passed by the House on May 15. The letter urges senators to take action on a variety of measures to bolster and preserve crucial safety-net support. Specifically, the association calls on Senate leaders to:
- provide additional dollars to the COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund and allocate $20 billion toward essential hospitals;
- protect 340B Drug Pricing Program eligibility for the duration of the public health emergency;
- provide relief for Medicare accelerated and advance payments;
- extend COVID-19 payroll tax credits to public hospitals;
- shield hospitals and essential caregivers from unnecessary litigation;
- strengthen and fund data collection and reporting requirements to demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minorities;
- support and bolster the health care workforce; and
- approve Medicaid policy changes to stabilize a crucial source of federal payments including:
- blocking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from finalizing its shortsighted and damaging Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation for at least two years after the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
- stopping impending cuts to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital funding for fiscal years 2021 and 2022; and
- bolstering the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage and maintenance-of-effort requirements.
Essential hospitals shoulder the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic while operating under strained financial circumstances. America’s Essential Hospitals will continue to advocate for adequate legislative support from House and Senate lawmakers.
Contact Vice President of Legislative Affairs Carlos Jackson at email@example.com or 202.585.0112 with questions.