Yesterday, CHA sent a letter to the California congressional delegation asking for immediate action in support of the response to COVID-19 by member hospitals and health systems.
Specifically, CHA requested clarification on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for health care personnel exposed to COVID-19, and to move from airborne to droplet precautions for patients and health care workers.
CHA also asked the delegation to urge President Trump to take action under the Stafford Act, which would allow states and member hospitals to pursue necessary waivers to provisions of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under section 1135 of the Social Security Act, including:
- Flexibility to suspend certain Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act requirements
- Allow physicians and other health care professionals who are licensed in any state (not just the state they are regularly practicing in) to be reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP
- Relax bed limitations for critical access hospitals
- Suspend regulations governing skilled-nursing facility admission criteria that require a three-day hospital stay
- Allow employees conducting sterile compounding to remove, retain, and re-don face masks in the compounding area during the same work shift to conserve scarce face mask supplies
In addition, CHA urged Congress to activate the National Disaster Medical System Definitive Care Reimbursement Program, which allows hospitals that accept disaster evacuees to receive reimbursement for services they provide at 110% of the usual Medicare rate for such services.
While strongly supportive of employee and student protections, along with the increase in Medicaid funding, CHA expressed disappointment in a provision in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to establish a COVID‐19 emergency temporary standard, which would create additional confusion and introduce complex and possibly contradictory guidance.
CHA will continue to advocate at the federal level to ensure that hospitals’ needs and resources to care for their communities and combat the spread of the coronavirus are met.