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On the Hill: COVID-19 Response, Star Ratings Letter

Congress this week remains focused on responding to the outbreak and potential community spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

Both chambers last week passed bipartisan legislation providing more than $8 billion to combat the spread of COVID-19. The bill, which President Trump signed Friday, includes funding to:

  • research and develop vaccines;
  • purchase medical supplies and diagnostic tools, among other items;
  • boost federal prevention, preparedness, and response efforts; and
  • help states and localities respond to the crisis.

House leaders are discussing additional legislation to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19, including paid leave and other workforce protections. The House potentially could vote on such economic stimulus legislation by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery will hold a March 10 hearing on community perspectives on COVID-19 preparedness and response. The hearing will feature testimony from Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator, and several public health officials. Additionally, the subcommittee will hold a March 11 hearing featuring testimony from Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli on the federal response to COVID-19.

Senate Star Ratings Letter Closes Tomorrow

Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Bob Casey (D-PA) will collect signatures through March 10 for their bipartisan letter asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to incorporate social determinants of health and socioeconomic status when updating the overall hospital star rating methodology.

America’s Essential Hospitals is calling on member hospitals to urge their senators to sign the Portman-Casey letter.

Additional Congressional Hearings

The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a March 10 hearing on the proposed budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for fiscal year 2021.

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About the Author

Erin Delaney is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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