On Aug. 5, the AAMC sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra urging him to renew the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), which is scheduled to expire on Oct. 13.
In his letter to Becerra, AAMC President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, emphasized the importance of the critical waivers and flexibilities allowed during the PHE, especially as breakthrough cases, hospitalizations, and deaths rise. The letter also warned of the dangers of ending the PHE prematurely and the impact it would have on communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, as well as on our health workforce.
“Removing these waivers and flexibilities would eliminate a critical lifeline and could prove to be detrimental to an already exhausted and depleted health workforce, exacerbate provider shortages, and create further disruptions to patient care,” Skorton wrote.
In the letter, Skorton specifically highlighted telehealth and the Acute Hospital Care at Home program as some of the crucial waivers hospitals utilized to continue to provide care to their patients. The letter also noted the importance of the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement as well as the 6.2% increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for state Medicaid programs established by the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (P.L. 116-127).
“We urge you to extend the COVID-19 PHE and allow our hospitals and health care providers to utilize all the tools needed to combat and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter concluded.