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Private Safety-Net Hospitals Need More CARES Act Money, NASH Writes

The federal government should direct another round of CARES Act grants to safety-net hospitals, NASH wrote yesterday in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

While all recipients of the latest round of CARES Act grants benefited from those funds, NASH noted in its letter, too many private safety-net hospitals did not receive grants at all.

In its letter, NASH suggested that HHS use different criteria for selecting future safety-net hospital recipients of CARES Act grants:  hospitals that are “deemed DSH hospitals” or those that are eligible to participate in the section 340B program.

These two categories of hospitals, NASH wrote,

…most accurately and precisely capture safety-net hospitals that serve the highest proportions Medicaid patients and that most need these essential resources.

See NASH’s letter here.

Coronavirus Update for Thursday, June 4, 2020

Coronavirus update for Thursday, June 4 as of 2:30 p.m.

NASH Advocacy

Today NASH sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma expressing safety-net hospitals’ disappointment that HHS still has not made a targeted distribution of CARES Act Provider Relief Funds to providers of especially high volumes of care to Medicaid and government-insured patients and urging them to do so as soon as possible.  See NASH’s letter here.

 

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Department of Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has introduced a new web-based resource, Testing Supply Substitution Strategies, that includes detailed information to help support labs performing authorized COVID-19 tests.
  • The FDA has updated the question-and-answer appendix in its guidance Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency with new information about compliance for electronic systems used to generate electronic signatures on clinical trial records.
  • The FDA has issued an alert to providers about the temporary absence of the “paralyzing agent” warning statement on the vial caps of the neuromuscular blocking agents vecuronium bromide and rocuronium bromide, both of which are often used for patients requiring medical ventilation.
  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for five new commercial diagnostic tests for COVID-19. Find them here, here, here, here, and here.
  • Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

    • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

    (To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

NASH Calls for More COVID-19 Legislation

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 that private safety-net hospitals seek:

  1. An additional $100 billion for hospitals.
  2. A 14-point increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).
  3. 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.
  4. Reduced interest rates and a longer payback period for Medicare payments advanced to hospitals through the CARES Act’s Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.
  5. Prevention of implementation of the Medicare fiscal accountability regulation (MFAR).

Learn more from NASH’s letter to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

Coronavirus Update for Tuesday, June 2

Coronavirus update for Tuesday, June 2, 2020 as of 2:45 p.m.

NASH Advocacy

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:

  1. An additional $100 billion for hospitals.
  2. A 14-point increase in the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).
  3. 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.
  4. Reduced interest rates and a longer payback period for Medicare payments advanced to hospitals through the CARES Act’s Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.
  5. Prevention of implementation of the Medicare fiscal accountability regulation (MFAR).

Learn more from NASH’s letter to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

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

Food and Drug Administration

The Joint Commission

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospital resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

NASH Asks Congress to Forgive Loans From Accelerated and Advance Payment Program

Include forgiveness for the resources the federal government provided to hospitals through the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program in the next COVID-19/economic stimulus bill, NASH has asked congressional leaders.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, the National Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals acknowledged the importance of the program’s funds in enabling private safety-net hospitals to “…keep their lights on, their supply closets fully stocked, and their teams of heroic caregivers paid” but observed that

…COVID-19 has done profound damage to our people and to our economy, and it has had a similar impact on many providers, including private safety-net hospitals.

Because health experts believe the COVID-19 pandemic has not ended and may return later this year, NASH wrote that

Forgiving the loans provided through the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program and continuing the uninterrupted flow of payments for the services we provide to our Medicare patients will help ensure that we are there when our communities and our country need us, now and in the future.

See NASH’s letter to congressional leaders here.

Coronavirus Update for May 15, 2020

Coronavirus update for Friday, May 15 as of 2:30 p.m.

NASH Advocacy

NASH wrote on Thursday to Health and Human Services Secretary Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to point out a published report describing the degree to which its second distribution of Provider Relief Fund money, based on hospitals’ net revenue, disadvantaged hospitals that serve especially high proportions of publicly insured patients.  See NASH’s letter here.

 

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Department of Health and Human Services

HHS and its Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will award $5 million in fiscal year 2020 to support novel, high-impact studies that evaluate the responsiveness of health care delivery systems, health care professionals, and the overall U.S. health care system to the COVID-19 pandemic.   See HHS’s announcement of the grant program here and find the full funding announcement here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC issued a health advisory through its health alert network with background information on several cases of a recently reported multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19.  The advisory includes a case definition for this syndrome and the CDC’s recommendation that providers report any patient who meets the case definition to local, state, and territorial health departments to enhance knowledge of risk factors, pathogenesis, clinical course, and treatment of this syndrome.

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA issued an update to its guidance for pharmacy compounders that experience shortages of the personal protective equipment they typically use to compound human drugs that are intended or expected to be sterile.  In the update, FDA clarifies that drugs can be compounded under the policy in a segregated compounding area that is not in a cleanroom when specific beyond-use dates are used.

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

NASH Asks HHS for Fairer Distribution of COVID-19 Aid

A study published this week in Kaiser Health News found that CARES Act grants to hospitals with high proportions of privately insured patients were more than twice those given to private safety-net hospitals and others that care for especially high proportions of publicly insured patients.

In light of this finding, NASH wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma to point out this disparity and ask for a fairer allocation of future CARES Act money and any future funding Congress appropriates for aid to hospitals during the COVID-19 crisis.

See NASH’s letter here.

NASH Pitches Policy Proposals to Congress

Following the introduction of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (“HEROES Act”), the National Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals wrote to congressional leaders to ask for six specific policy initiatives in the next COVID-19 legislation:

See NASH’s letter on behalf of private safety-net hospitals here.

 

Coronavirus Update for May 13, 2020

Coronavirus update for Wednesday, May 13 as of 2:30 p.m.

NASH Advocacy

Following the introduction yesterday of H.B. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (“HEROES Act”), NASH wrote to congressional leaders asking them to address five issues in the next COVID-19 legislation:

  • direct an additional $100 billion to hospitals;
  • prevent finalization of the Medicaid fiscal account accountability regulation (MFAR);
  • increase the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP);
  • increase states’ Medicaid DSH allotments 2.5 percent (while also delaying Affordable Care Act-mandated cuts in state Medicaid DSH allotments scheduled to take effect on December 1); and
  • reduce interest rates and lengthen the payback period for money provided to hospitals by the states through the CARES Act’s Accelerated and Advance Payment Program.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

  • The FDA has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for a commercial nurse call system for use by providers for remotely monitoring and communicating with patients on ventilators.

Government Accountability Office

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)

Coronavirus Update for May 6, 2020

Coronavirus update for Wednesday, May 6 as of 3:00 p.m.

NASH Advocacy

  • NASH wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator CMS Seema Verma to ask them to include in the next round of funding from the CARES Act provider relief fund grants to hospitals in places that have become COVID-19 hotspots since April 10 (the cut-off date for identifying recipient hospitals for the first round of hotspot funding); to target grant funds to private safety-net hospitals and others that serve especially high proportions of Medicaid and government-insured patients; and to establish a mechanism to enable hospitals that may have been overlooked in previous distribution methodologies to apply for additional grant money. See NASH’s letter here.

Department of Health and Human Services/Health Resources and Services Administration

Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Civil Rights

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration

Department of Labor

Federal Funding Opportunities for Hospitals

  • NASH has prepared a document that collects and presents in one place the various new federal funding opportunities for hospitals resulting from legislation addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find that document here.

(To receive this daily update directly, sign up for our mailing list at info@safetynetalliance.org.)