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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments on 340B Payment Cuts

Healthcare provider groups made their case before the Supreme Court this week, saying reimbursement cuts in the 340B program were made unlawfully by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  The case brought by the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and other provider groups was supported by CHA in an amicus brief submitted in September.  The cuts, which amount to nearly 30%, resulted in a $1.6 billion reduction in 340B payments in the first year of the changes.  The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case after the U.S. Court of Appeals sided with the Department of Health and Human Services, overruling a lower court ruling in favor of the AHA.

 

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Federal Court Halts Enforcement of CMS Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

A U.S. District Court judge in Louisiana has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction this week preventing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing its COVID-19 healthcare staff vaccination mandate as a condition of participation with the government insurance programs.  The judge was ruling on a challenge of the vaccine mandate brought by 14 states.  Judge Terry Doughty said while the matter ultimately will be decided by a higher court, the liberty interests of the unvaccinated must be considered before moving forward.  The ruling follows another preliminary injunction issued by a federal judge in Missouri that is applicable in ten states.  The CMS interim final rule requires workers in most healthcare settings that receive payment from Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4, 2022.  The courts’ rulings do not impact Connecticut hospitals’ implementation of mandatory vaccination policies.

 

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CDC Alerts Clinicians to Increased Flu Among Young Adults

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned clinicians of an uptick in Seasonal Influenza A (H3N2) activity, particularly among young adults.  The CDC indicated that college and university settings are primary locations of these observed increases, and while overall case activity is still low nationally, vaccine coverage is also low.  The agency is urging clinicians to continue efforts to encourage vaccination against the flu, along with COVID-19 vaccines.  The flu vaccine is recommended for all persons six months and older, unless contraindicated.  CDC is also recommending early treatment with antiviral medications for patients testing positive for the flu or as prophylaxis for patients exposed to someone who has the flu.

 

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