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Daily News

April 03, 2020

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said Friday (April 3) that the administration plans to use a portion of the $100 billion CARES Act funding for hospitals to reimburse providers for treating the uninsured with COVID-19.

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The Supreme Court Friday (April 3) agreed to an extended briefing schedule in the high-profile lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act, now known as California v. Texas, in a move the Democratic AGs say could lead to oral arguments in October.

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The Supreme Court on Friday (April 3) postponed oral arguments in two major health care cases, one involving states’ attempts to regulate pharmacy benefit managers and the other involving the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate.

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Utah suspended its Medicaid work requirements on Friday (April 3), citing the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the state’s economy. Utah had been the only state with an active work requirement program.

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CMS told states on Thursday (April 2) that they have various ways to use federal Medicaid funds to expand telehealth treatments of substance use disorders -- and the agency advised that these telehealth options may be useful during the COVID-19 crisis.

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While the federal government refuses to open healthcare.gov for a special enrollment period during the coronavirus pandemic, several state-based exchanges that already created SEPs have extended their deadlines.

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FDA, Mayo Clinic and the American Red Cross have launched a nationwide expanded access program to collect and provide investigational convalescent plasma therapy to COVID-19 patients in the United States, especially those who may not have access to clinical trials.

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Several small air ambulance companies have stopped transporting COVID-19 patients due to a lack of personal protective equipment, and larger, national, air ambulance companies are spending most of their time sourcing protective equipment for their flights, air ambulance providers tell Inside Health Policy.

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Due to increased consumer demand for eggs during the COVID-19 national emergency, FDA will allow grocery stores to sell eggs in unlabeled flats and cartons that are typically sold to restaurants and bakeries, the agency announced through a temporary guidance on Friday (April 3).

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will sign an executive order allowing the state to take ventilators and personal protective equipment from hospitals around the state that don’t have an immediate need and redeploy those resources to hospitals that need them for COVID-19.

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The Trump administration continues to dismiss the idea of opening up a special enrollment period (SEP) for healthcare.gov, and instead looks to provide cash payments to providers for treating the uninsured using the $100 billion in funding from the newly passed CARES Act.

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April 02, 2020

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission indicated Thursday (April 2) that it will closely monitor lessons learned in Medicaid after the coronavirus pandemic is over, including how Medicaid expansion states fared over non-expansion states.

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Congress’ Medicaid advisers voted in favor what staff called modest but important recommendations to improve care for beneficiaries eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid -- one would create a special enrollment period for duals eligible for Medicare-Medicaid plans and another would propose Congress provide states with funding to put integrated care models in place.

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FDA on Thursday (April 2) announced it will make exceptions to standard blood donation procedures and allow donation sites to follow alternative processes for releasing blood donations throughout the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, which has created an urgent need for blood and blood components.

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FDA pushed out several changes to blood donor eligibility criteria to help expand the blood donor pool amid shortages created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Anthem said Wednesday (April 1) it would waive cost-sharing for all treatments related to the COVID-19 diagnosis through May 31, the fourth major insurer to make such a decision in recent weeks.

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CMS has agreed to withhold federal Medicaid reimbursements to states in cases where providers are serving Medicaid beneficiaries without being enrolled in state programs after an HHS Office of Inspector General report found 23 states hadn’t enrolled all providers as required by the 21st Century Cures Act.

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Mylan N.V. is waiving the exclusivity it expects for its generic version of Kaletra, which is AbbVie’s branded HIV drug being tested as a COVID-19 treatment, to allow other generic drug makers to supply the medicine sooner.

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It could take six to 12 months before drug companies are making enough of hydroxychloroquine to meet demand if the drug is proven to treat COVID-19, according to Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal.

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Nearly 1,000 providers that were kicked out of Medicaid due to criminal convictions, licensure problems and other misconduct still received Medicaid payments or remained enrolled in state Medicaid programs, according to a report released Wednesday (April 1) by the HHS Office of Inspector General.

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