In a statement (LINK to come) submitted to the Senate Finance Committee for a hearing today on COVID-19 health care flexibilities, AHA urged Congress and the administration to make permanent certain health care flexibilities granted for the COVID-19 public health emergency that have enhanced the patient experience and led to better outcomes. These include telehealth and hospital-at-home flexibilities; site-neutral payment exceptions; allowing health care professionals to practice at the top of their licenses and perform certain services when licensed in another state; and extending the five-year cap-building period for new Graduate Medical Education programs. AHA also called for modernizing certain Medicare and Medicaid conditions of participation and continued flexibility in rural hospital capacity.
“In addition, a second group of flexibilities will remain critically important for some time following the PHE and will require a carefully crafted phase-out plan to ensure enough time is provided for a necessary transition,” AHA wrote. “Without action from Congress and the Administration prior to the termination of the PHE, we are concerned that much of the progress made because of the implementation of many of these flexibilities may be unnecessarily halted or even lost.”
Hearing witness Linda DeCherrie, M.D., clinical director for the Mount Sinai At Home program at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, also urged Congress and the administration to make the hospital-at-home waiver permanent.
Also testifying at the hearing were representatives from the Government Accountability Office, American Academy of Family Physicians, America’s Physician Groups, and Urban Institute.