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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC, Hospital Groups Urge Congressional Action on COVID-19 Relief


    Allyson Perleoni, Director, Government Relations

    The AAMC and other hospital and health system organizations sent a letter to congressional leadership on Feb. 8 urging additional COVID-19 relief.

    The letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) emphasized that the aid Congress has already provided to hospitals and health systems has been critical to their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that more is needed to sustain their efforts. “The financial pressures hospitals and health systems faced at the beginning of the public health emergency continue, with, for example, ongoing delays in non-emergent procedures, in addition to increased expenses for supplies, medicine, testing and protective equipment,” it stated.

    The letter also noted increased challenges hospitals are facing due to a shortage of workers, and in particular, nurses. As the shortage has persisted, the groups argued, “some travel nurse staffing agencies seem to be exploiting these shortages by inflating prices beyond reasonably competitive levels – two or three or more times pre-pandemic rates – and reportedly retaining high profit margins for themselves,” and they emphasized that these practices are unsustainable.  

    The letter specifically asked congressional leaders to extend the moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequester, which Congress previously extended in the Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act (P.L. 117-71) [refer to Washington Highlights, Dec. 10, 2021]. It also urged Congress to “ensure hospitals and health systems have the additional resources they need to continue to care for our communities and patients, including supplies and equipment, as well as to offset staffing costs.”