AHA today urged Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to renew the COVID-19 public health emergency set to expire in October to continue critical flexibilities hospitals depend on to deliver needed care, and minimize additional disruptions to an “increasingly fragile” health care delivery system.
“Now is not the time to eliminate these vital flexibilities,” AHA wrote. “Hospitalizations and deaths are again on the rise given the B.A.5 variant, and there is a real possibility of additional surges in the fall and winter — along with a possibly difficult flu season. Our providers also are experiencing sicker patients with more critical medical needs due to delays in seeking care during the Delta and Omicron surges. Moreover, hospitals continue to be challenged by supply chain disruptions, increasing expenses due to labor, supplies and inflation, changing guidance regarding vaccines and therapeutics, dramatic increases in the demand for mental and behavioral health, and, most importantly, by significant shortages of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and other health care personnel.”