The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, May 14. Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.
- NASH has written to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to urge his department to apply more appropriate criteria and a better methodology for calculating payments in all future Provider Relief Fund distributions. Learn more from NASH’s letter to HHS Secretary Becerra.
The CDC and Mask Guidance
- The CDC has updated its guidance on when people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 do and do not need to wear masks and when they do and do not need to seek testing when they believe they have been exposed to someone with the virus. This is the guidance that was released amid a great deal of public attention on Thursday.
The White House
- The White House announced that it will spend $7.4 billion in American Rescue Plan money to improve the country’s public health infrastructure. This includes:
- $4.4 billion for states and localities to hire additional public health staff.
- $400 million to create a new “Public Health AmeriCorps” to recruit and build a new workforce “ready to respond to the public health needs of the nation.”
- $245 million for the CDC to expand its current workforce programs.
- $80 million for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to train public health professionals to help modernize the public health data infrastructure.
- $337 million for the CDC to strengthen the public health laboratory workforce pipeline.
- $3 billion for the CDC to create a new grant program to help health departments hire new staff and build the public health workforce.
- The White House has posted a transcript of the May 13 press briefing by its COVID-19 response team and public health officials.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- CMS has released data highlighting the continued impact of the COVID-19 emergency on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries and their utilization of health care services. The data show that from March through October 2020, beneficiaries skipped millions of primary, preventive, and mental health care visits due to COVID-19 in comparison to the same time period in 2019. Although utilization rates for some treatments have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, mental health services show the slowest rebound. Learn more from the following resources:
Health Policy News
- CMS has issued guidance to states on how they can receive enhanced American Rescue Plan funding to increase access to home and community-based services (HCBS) for Medicaid beneficiaries. This guidance seeks to assist states with leveraging federal resources to increase health equity in Medicaid beneficiaries’ access to HCBS, positive health outcomes, and community integration. Those resources include a one-year increase of 10 percent in federal Medicaid matching money for such expenditures. The guidance was issued to states through a CMS letter to state Medicaid directors. Go here to see CMS’s announcement about the enhanced HCBS funding and go here to see the CMS letter to state Medicaid directors.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has posted a study on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among health care workers.
- The CDC has posted the interim recommendation of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the use of the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15.
- The CDC has updated its vaccination toolkit for pediatric health care providers to reflect the extension of authorization for minors to receive COVID-19 vaccines. For the same reason it has updated its COVID-19 vaccine guidance for children and teens.
- The CDC has updated its information for health care providers about underlying medical conditions associated with a high risk for severe COVID-19.
- The CDC has updated its collection of research on the effects of COVID-19 on pregnant women.
- FEMA’s National Exercise Division has developed exercise starter kits with sample documents to assist organizations with planning and conducting tabletop exercises aligning with the updated National Exercise Program 2021-2022 Principal’s Strategic Priorities. FEMA will host webinars for whole community exercise practitioners. The webinars will introduce the new exercise starter kits, providing stakeholders with an overview of the kits along with how to use them. Visit the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program Webinar webpage to register.
- 5 p.m. (eastern), May 20
- 1 p.m. (eastern), May 28
- 9 a.m. (eastern), June 7