Essential hospitals lead the nation in the battle against COVID-19 and are committed to serving populations disproportionately harmed by the pandemic. Last year, congressional leaders rightly recognized the unprecedented impact of this pandemic and moved quickly, in a bipartisan manner, to provide crucial financial and regulatory relief to health care providers.
But new challenges—including COVID-19 variants, vaccination distribution management, long-term hospitalizations, and patients with lingering health effects—show more help is needed to ensure providers on the front lines can maintain access to care.
Congress must act now to preserve access to care for populations and communities overwhelmed by COVID-19 and ensure essential hospitals have the resources they need by:
- replenishing the Provider Relief Fund with $35 billion and targeting funding disbursements to essential providers;
- extending the Medicare sequester moratorium through the public health emergency;
- providing additional relief through the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment programs;
- broadening Medicaid shortfall exception to protect hospitals that receive disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments;
- protecting 340B eligibility; and
- protecting essential hospitals from excessive lawsuits.