On Tuesday, the National Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals wrote to Senate leaders and asked them to advance legislation with five major COVID-19-related policy initiatives:
- An additional $100 billion for hospitals.
- A 14-point increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).
- A 2.5 percent increase in states’ Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) allotments and another delay in implementation of Affordable Care Act-mandated cuts in those allotments.
- Reduced interest rates and a longer payback period for Medicare payments advanced to hospitals through the CARES Act’s Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.
- Prevention of implementation of the Medicare fiscal accountability regulation (MFAR).
On Monday NASH submitted formal comments to CMS on an interim final rule published in April to help health care providers respond to the COVID-19 emergency. NASH expressed support for the changes CMS introduced.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- The Quality, Safety & Oversight Group of CMS’s Center for Clinical Standards and Quality has written to state Medicaid agencies about COVID-19 survey activities, CARES Act funding, and enhanced enforcement for infection control deficiencies and quality improvement activities in nursing homes. The memo calls on states to do a more complete job of inspecting nursing homes for their infection control efforts, proposes penalties for states that fail to do so, and explains that CMS will allocate CARES Act funding based on performance-based metrics. See CMS’s detailed news release about this new policy.
- CMS has updated its toolkit to help states mitigate the prevalence of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
Food and Drug Administration
- On Wednesday, June 3, the FDA will host a virtual town hall for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The purpose of this town hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of COVID-19 tests. For more information about the town hall, go here.
- The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for a specific commercial device for use in hospitals to provide temporary right ventricular support for up to 14 days for critical care patients suffering from acute right heart failure or decompensation caused by complications related to COVID-19.
The Joint Commission
- The Joint Commission has announced that it will resume regular surveys and reviews in this month, with its methodology modified in some respects to reflect the need to practice social distancing.