Hospitals urge HHS to use pandemic-era policies as springboard for progress

The American Hospital Association is calling on HHS to ensure a smooth transition for healthcare workers and patients as the nation prepares to end the COVID-19 public health emergency directive in May.

In a Feb. 7 letter, the group said this includes taking actions to help ensure care access; support healthcare workers; and remove unnecessary administrative and regulatory burdens providers face.

"The recent decision to sunset the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) is a testament to the progress we have made; however, as we prepare for that transition, we should not revert to care delivery as it was prior to the pandemic," the letter states. "Instead let us build on the lessons we have learned and the advancements in care delivery and access we have made. Let us use this crisis to create a more effective, equitable, patient-focused and stable healthcare system."

The AHA specifically asks HHS to make "permanent many of the policies authorized through waiver authority during the PHE that enabled hospitals and health care systems to deliver care more effectively and efficiently." 

Other asks include continuing to help ensure the Medicaid redetermination process does not leave people without care and coverage access; revising certain hospital conditions of participation; and updating HHS' emergency preparedness plan.

The Biden administration plans to end the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies May 11.

Read the AHA's full letter here.

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