CEO Message

CEO Message: Politics Aside, Hospitals Need Help

The 2020 presidential, congressional, and state races, along with several important ballot initiatives, will be decided by voters in just a few days, and while the election can feel all-consuming at times, the mission of health care providers remains unchanged as you press on through a pandemic whose spread is accelerating each week. 

When it comes to advocating for what helps you serve the communities and patients entrusted to you, we know that no matter what the outcome on Tuesday or in the days and weeks to follow, hospitals have several high-priority needs from the federal government. During the upcoming lame duck session, we’ll be advocating for: 

  • More COVID-19 relief for front-line providers – A recent report from Kaufman Hall notes that three-quarters of hospitals and health systems are concerned about  the financial viability of their organizations, one-third saw year-over-year operating margins decline more than 100% during Q2 2020, volumes are recovering extremely slowly, and expenses for things like PPE continue to climb. 
  • An integrated framework to support COVID-19 response – Combating a pandemic like COVID-19 necessitates unprecedented levels of cooperation between states and the federal government on issues like testing, vaccine production and distribution, therapeutics, and more; as we learn more about this disease, these joint efforts must be enhanced and refined. 
  • A coordinated plan to increase PPE supply and distribution – The supply chain for personal protective equipment will remain uneven as hot spots emerge in different regions of our state and across the country. Providers will need a coordinated strategy among local, state, and federal agencies to ensure an adequate supply in the coming months. 
  • Preservation of resources for patients – As hospitals work to climb out from the financial strain driven by the pandemic, the federal government must avoid any cuts to Medicare and Medicaid rates, and extend the delay in disproportionate share hospitals and sequestration cuts. Also, advanced Medicare payments made to providers in the early spring to help them grapple with the unexpected costs of treating complex cases should be treated as a “loan forgiveness” program as the pandemic persists. At the same time, 340B hospitals are facing payment cuts. In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a 2018 district court decision that found the Department of Health and Human Services exceeded its statutory authority when it reduced 2018 and 2019 Medicare payment rates for many hospitals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program by nearly 30%.   
  • Avoidance of additional regulations – With COVID-19 showing no signs of slowing and hospitals still reeling financially, now is not the time for new, burdensome regulations such as the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule, which would alter supplemental payments to states for contradictory reporting requirements for federal funds. 

It’s important to remember that, as the discord grows ahead of the election, these issues will remain a priority for hospitals no matter who sits in the Oval Office and no matter what the balance of power looks like in Congress. Health care, because it affects every one of us, should not be a matter of Blue and Red, but of finding ways to make sure every one of us has the care we all need and deserve. 

~ Carmela

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CHA News Article

CMS Interim Final Rule Establishes Additional COVID-19 Policies and Regulatory Flexibilities
For CEOs, CFOs, finance & reimbursement staff, post-acute care staff, government relations staff

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) – along with the Departments of Labor and the Treasury – issued its fourth interim final rule with comment period (IFC) on policies and regulatory flexibilities available for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

CHA News Article

CMS Issues CY 2021 DMEPOS Proposed Rule and Competitive Bidding Program Information
For CEOs, CFOs, finance & reimbursement staff, post-acute care staff, and case managers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its proposed rule updating payment methodologies for the Medicare durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) fee schedule for calendar year (CY) 2021. In addition, CMS announced changes to the DMEPOS competitive bidding program (CBP) for 2021, which will be limited to off-the-shelf knee and back braces.  

CHA News Article

Price Transparency Requirements for Health Plans Finalized
For CEOs, CFOs, chief legal counsel, government relations executives, finance staff

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) – along with the Departments of Labor and Treasury — has issued a final rule that establishes several new price transparency requirements for health plans. The final rule builds on the finalized price transparency requirements for hospitals and reflects President Trump’s June 24 executive order.  

CHA News Article

ONC Delays Information Blocking Compliance Until April 2021
For CEOs, CIOs, government relations staff, compliance staff, general counsel

Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has issued an interim final rule with comment period extending the compliance deadline for provider information blocking requirements from Nov. 2 to April 5, 2021.   

CHA News Article

CDPH Revises Hospital Visitation Recommendations, SNF Visitation Requirements
For chief legal counsel, compliance staff, quality & patient safety staff, infection preventionists

On Oct. 23, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released revised recommendations for hospital visitors and support person policies in All Facilities Letter (AFL) 20-38.5.  

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Public Relations

CHA News Article

Care Can’t Wait Google Insights Poll Results Available
For public relations, communications, and marketing executives

In October, CHA conducted its fourth Google insights poll on willingness to seek care during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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CMS News Roundup

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