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States Respond to COVID-19: Elective Surgeries Begin to Resume

Many states are beginning to lift restrictions put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including resuming elective surgeries in hospitals.

States are at varied stages of resuming elective surgeries. For instance:

NAMD Letter to HHS

On April 27, the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting the administration work with Medicaid directors to distribute needed funds to Medicaid providers due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

In addition to requesting immediate engagement with Medicaid directors on distribution of funds, NAMD asked HHS for greater transparency on funding allocations to providers. The letter stated that the current funding amounts to address COVID-19 have been insufficient for Medicaid providers. While the letter did not specifically mention essential hospitals, NAMD asked HHS to consider that hospitals serving the most vulnerable are especially impacted by the pandemic.

Report: States Should Increase Testing Before Reopening

According to a report by Harvard researchers and STAT, 31 states and Washington, D.C., have an insufficient amount of testing and are not able to identify infected people in a timely manner.

The report found that 10 states would need to increase their testing totals by 10,000 each day to adequately identify infected people; New York would have to perform more than 100,000 tests per day. Most of the information available about testing for COVID-19 is on the national level, but Harvard Global Health Institute Director Ashish Jha said, “You can’t just take the national number and scale it to states by their population,” which is why this study was created.

In addition to performing more tests for states to reopen, researchers found states need to analyze tests more quickly and health care workers need to efficiently contact people at risk of being exposed. The report concluded many states have a long way to go before they are able to safely reopen, and testing capacity will remain an essential tool.

We encourage all members to visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the outbreak.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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