In The News

Congress Extends Medicare Sequestration Relief

Thanks in large part to our collective advocacy, the Senate has passed H.R. 1868, which would extend the moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequestration until December 31, 2021. To offset the cost, the bill also extends the timeframe for the Medicare sequestration to permanently expire to the end of 2030.

President Biden is expected to sign the legislation into law after the House passes the Senate version of the bill. However, the House is not scheduled to be back in session to vote on legislation until April 13, 2021, after the current moratorium has expired on March 31, 2021. Negotiations regarding the lapse beginning April 1st are ongoing.

 

Five Reasons Why COVID Herd Immunity is Probably Impossible

Nature.com/ By Christie Aschwanden

As COVID-19 vaccination rates pick up around the world, people have reasonably begun to ask: how much longer will this pandemic last? It’s an issue surrounded with uncertainties. But the once-popular idea that enough people will eventually gain immunity to SARS-CoV-2 to block most transmission — a ‘herd-immunity threshold’ — is starting to look unlikely.

That threshold is generally achievable only with high vaccination rates, and many scientists had thought that once people started being immunized en masse, herd immunity would permit society to return to normal. Most estimates had placed the threshold at 60–70% of the population gaining immunity, either through vaccinations or past exposure to the virus. But as the pandemic enters its second year, the thinking has begun to shift. In February, independent data scientist Youyang Gu changed the name of his popular COVID-19 forecasting model from ‘Path to Herd Immunity’ to ‘Path to Normality’. He said that reaching a herd-immunity threshold was looking unlikely because of factors such as vaccine hesitancy, the emergence of new variants and the delayed arrival of vaccinations for children.

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HHAC Needs You To Act Today to Prioritize and Protect Home-Based Care  

Colorado legislators are considering rate increases for Medicaid, and your voice is needed to ensure home-based care remains a viable option in our communities. 

The Home Care and Hospice Association of Colorado is asking legislators for $10.9 million general funds for home health to increase reimbursement rates to 90% of Medicare LUPA; increases for private duty nursing, including $1.3 million general funds to increase rates for LPN visits; and $2 million general funds to increase rates for RN visits.

Please help us by completing the form linked here. 

 

State Receives Better Budget News As It Considers Provider Rate Requests

The Joint Budget Committee heard the March 2021 Economic Forecast from Legislative Council Staff and OSPB. It will use this forecast as it finalizes the budget package, including provider rates.

The forecast contains mostly good news with signs that the worst of the recession is behind us. Due to a surprising increase in revenue collections, the General Assembly will have a $5.29 billion surplus for FY2021-22. This is a large increase from the December 2020 projection.

The surplus is from a low baseline resulting from a historically low reserve and significant cuts made last fiscal year. Most of the increase in revenue is a result of these cuts and are rollover dollars from last year. This means much of this additional money can only be used for one-time spending. It does not reflect an ongoing increase in the state's budget in out-years.

HHAC Members: Access the forecasts here (password required)

 

 

House Passes Bill To Grant Nine-Month Extension To Moratorium on Medical Payment Requester Cuts

Mar 19, 2021 12:47pm

 
The House passed a bill Friday by a vote of 246 to 175 that grants a nine-month extension of a moratorium on Medicare payment cuts imposed by the sequester. The legislation now heads to the Senate, which must pass it before the current moratorium on the 2% cuts expires on March 31.
 
Provider groups have been imploring Congress to pass another extension to the moratorium, which was first passed as part of the CARES Act. They have claimed that the moratorium needs to be extended as providers are still facing the financial impact of the pandemic. Congress first extended the moratorium on the cuts as part of a spending package approved in December.
 
“It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will extend well beyond the first quarter of this year and, absent additional congressional intervention, these harmful payment cuts will be re-imposed on April 1, 2021,” the American Medical Association wrote in a letter to congressional leaders on March 5.

 
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