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NASH Applauds HHS Movement Toward Extending Public Health Emergency

NASH has thanked Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for his department’s public indication that it intends to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency.

With the declaration of a public health emergency has become regulatory flexibilities that have enabled private safety-net hospitals and other providers to do a better job serving their patients and their communities in the current, challenging environment.

See NASH’s letter here.

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.

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.)

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.

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.)

NASH Recommends Targets for Next CARES Act Grants

New COVID-19 “hotspot” hospitals and private safety-net hospitals serving especially high proportions of Medicaid and government-insured patients should be singled out for grants in the next round of CARES Act funding from the Provider Relief Fund, NASH declared on Wednesday in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.

NASH also urged administration officials to develop a program to identify and assist hospitals that were overlooked by previous methodologies used to identify recipients of CARES Act grants.

See NASH’s letter here.

NASH Asks Administration to Modify Approach to Emergency Hospital Funding

The manner in which the federal government is distributing COVID-19-related CARES Act funding is unfair to private safety-net hospitals, the National Alliance of Safety-Net Hospitals has written in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.

The formula CMS used for its second round of funding from the $100 billion designated by the CARES Act for health care providers poses a distinct disadvantage to private safety-net hospitals, NASH wrote, because

With its emphasis on net patient revenue, this formula is damaging to safety-net hospitals that care for especially high proportions of Medicaid and low-income Medicare patients. As a result, hospitals that care for significant numbers of Medicaid and low-income patients are getting smaller grants, no grants at all, and in some cases a warning that they will be expected to return some of the money they have already received.

To address this problem, NASH asked administration officials to

…address these concerns by using the troubling outcome of this second tranche of payments to develop a consistent, appropriate funding formula that focuses more on hospitals than on other health care providers; that is fairer to safety-net hospitals than the second tranche formula; and that makes a concerted effort specifically to direct additional resources to safety-net hospitals. We also ask you to act immediately to ensure round one and round two grant recipients that there have been no “overpayments” of CARES Act funds and that the administration will not be asking them to repay some of the grants they have already received because the formula was changed.

See NASH’s letter here.

NASH Endorses New COVID-19 Legislation

NASH has urged congressional leaders to adopt a new proposal that would, among other things, provide $75 billion for hospitals to help them respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, and House minority leader Charles Schumer, NASH noted that private safety-net hospitals report that they have already exhausted their share of the $30 billion distributed to hospitals under the CARES Act and that they need additional help to offset the high cost of treating COVID-19 patients and the revenue they have lost because they have suspended non-urgent procedures.

NASH also asked congressional leaders to urge the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to distribute the remaining $70 billion designated for hospitals in the CARES Act as soon as possible.

See NASH’s letter here.