Government to reopen: 9 ways the 35-day shutdown affected healthcare

President Donald Trump agreed Jan. 25 to a short-term deal that will reopen the federal government until Feb. 15. Employees will receive back pay as soon as possible, the president said

Nine ways the 35-day shutdown affected healthcare:     

1. Medical care 'on hold' for government workers affected by shutdown
Although President Trump guaranteed back pay for furloughed workers, many began to delay care, turn to online fundraising and even consider career changes to pay their medical bills as they prepared to miss a second paycheck since the shutdown began Dec. 22.

2. 5 health systems enact billing changes for federal workers
To help meet the immediate need for care, the following health systems waived copays and deductibles or offered other forms of financial assistance to accommodate federal workers: Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Ky., CHI Franciscan Health in Tacoma, Wash., Hackensack Meridian Health in Edison, N.J., Beaumont Health in Southfield, Mich., and TriHealth in Cincinnati. Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health also waived copays, deductibles or coinsurance for furloughed government employees.

3. New Jersey health system speeds appointments for furloughed federal workers
Cooper University Health Care, based in Camden, N.J., offered furloughed federal workers and their immediate family primary care appointments within 24 hours.

4. New Jersey hospital offers employment opportunities, free meals to furloughed federal employees
Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, based in Paramus, N.J., offered government workers temporary employment and free meals.

5. How the shutdown is complicating addiction treatment for some providers
Meanwhile, physicians have had difficulty contacting the Drug Enforcement Administration for approval on prescriptions for medication-assisted opioid treatment.

6. Judge pauses appeal of ACA lawsuit ruling amid shutdown
Until funding is restored, a lawsuit that will determine the constitutionality of the ACA was put on hold.

7. Government shutdown delays release of long-awaited information blocking rule
The partial closure also delayed the long-awaited release of a rule on information blocking, expected from HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

8. Data.gov offline because of government shutdown
The federal government's open data sets on data.gov were unavailable due to lack of funding.

9. Government shutdown threatens drug approvals: 5 things to know
About half of the FDA's workforce was affected by the shutdown. With this reduced workforce, it was unable to accept new applications.   

Read more on the effects the closure had on federal health efforts here.

 

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