How COVID-19 has transformed public policy and population health efforts

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The COVID-19 global pandemic has highlighted disparities in our healthcare system and is informing public policy decisions on everything from how the newly unemployed can gain access to health insurance to mental health needs – including those of physicians and nurses. It has also put the focus on funding for hospitals, access to telehealth, especially in underserved communities, and an equitable vaccine distribution.

This month, HIMSS Media looks at how public policy is influencing population health and what that means for the current public health emergency and beyond, as we begin to turn the corner.

Senate passes moratorium to Medicare sequester cuts

US capitol building

The 2% cut to Medicare reimbursement is delayed through the end of the year, to the relief of hospital and physician groups.

AHIP, others applaud House bill focused on audio-only telehealth for Medicare Advantage

Doctor on the phone

The organization says seniors, during the pandemic, increasingly relied on telehealth to safely access their care.

Special Affordable Care Act enrollment period is extended to August 15

Screenshot of Healthcare.gov website

The additional tax credits reduce premiums by an average of $50 per person, per month and $85 per policy, per month.

Medicare for All push resurrected by U.S. House of Representatives

US Capitol building

Two Democratic senators say the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for national healthcare coverage.

Biden administration invests in expanding COVID-19 testing and treatments

President Joe Biden

States will get $12 billion to increase testing, and vulnerable populations will get $150 million for monoclonal antibody treatments.

MedPAC recommends the continuation of telehealth for a limited time

President Joe Biden

During a study period, Medicare should pay for specified telehealth services regardless of a provider’s location, MedPAC says.

Biden announces national vaccine finder website, May 1 eligibility for all adults

President Biden addresses the American people.

The president promised rapid progress on vaccination in his first prime-time address to the American people.

New collaborative care model improves access to mental healthcare

Woman looking out of window

Penn Medicine’s program uses a resource center to facilitate intake, triage and referral management.

New York State’s hospital nurse staffing legislation predicted to save lives and money

Hospital workers in PPE treating patients

The cost of improving staffing would be offset by savings achieved through reducing readmissions and lengths of stay.

$250 million in COVID-19 grants aim to vaccinate underserved populations

Doctor talking to patient in mask

The money is expected to fund about 30 projects in urban communities and 43 projects in rural communities for two years.

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