The AAMC joined other hospital and health system groups in a Feb. 25 letter to Senate leadership urging them to include additional COVID-19 relief funds for providers in the reconciliation package currently being considered in Congress. Other signers included the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and America’s Essential Hospitals.
The letter urged Congress to “provide additional funding for health care providers in the current reconciliation package, such as the legislative proposal put forward by Senator [Joe] Manchin for a Health Care Heroes Sustainability Fund, as well as additional resources to support efforts to bolster vaccine administration, enhanced testing and other priorities that support the essential work of our hospitals.” It also emphasized that providers are continuing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the groups “anticipate financial challenges will persist for America’s hospitals and health systems, with more financial impact expected due to the ongoing pandemic.”
Congress provided a total of $178 billion throughout the pandemic in direct payments to providers through the Provider Relief Fund. The House did not include provider relief funds in the American Rescue Plan (S. Con. Res. 5). Inclusion of provider relief funding would be dependent on the Senate amending the budget resolution [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 12].
“Our hospitals and health systems remain committed to caring for patients throughout the pandemic. But we need additional funding to both participate in the vaccination efforts as well as care for large numbers of critically ill patients, maintain sufficient staffing and continue to acquire enough personal protective equipment and other resources necessary to do this critical work,” the letter concluded.