WASHINGTON – The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) sent a letter to the acting Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Norris Cochran recommending policies to boost health care coverage as well as support patient-centered care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It is especially critical that we advance health equity as we strive toward these goals.
“Defeating the COVID-19 pandemic is rightfully job one for the nation’s health and economic well-being. FAH is committed to working with the Biden White House and HHS to meet this challenge first and foremost,” said Chip Kahn, FAH President and CEO. “At the same time, we still face other serious health care issues, as hospitals continue their front-line, around-the-clock care for COVID-19 patients. We want to work with the White House and HHS on these additional concerns with determination and focused leadership that puts patients first and eliminates health inequities.”
The main policy themes laid out in the letter include:
- Achieving coverage for all Americans through the ACA framework;
- Advancing health equity;
- Maintaining or improving existing, effective regulatory policies that ensure access to affordable care;
- Suspending, modifying, or striking policies that are excessively burdensome and/or counterproductive, mindful of the pressures of the pandemic; and
- Ensuring adequate health resources for care and adoption of policies to contribute to improved access to high-quality care.
Specific recommendations address outpatient hospital payment policies, including the continuation of the current 340B drug payment policy that reduces beneficiary copayments while reinvesting program savings into higher base payments for all hospitals for primary care and other services. FAH also highlights the importance of eliminating site-neutral regulations that do not recognize hospitals’ unique, mission-critical services to their communities. Finally, the letter addresses transparency policies that should be refocused on patient decision-making and suggests making permanent telehealth waivers established under the Public Health Emergency for the pandemic.
Click here for the complete letter.