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WASHINGTON, DC USA -- HEALTHCARE UPDATE NEWS SERVICE™ -- JUNE 30, 2020: The government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is driving major health care reforms with potentially lasting effects. From telemedicine, to more flexible drug trials, to less oversight of lab test development, to Medicaid flexibility --- now is the time to track Inside Health Policy's special coverage of the Coronavirus crisis.

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AHA Asks HHS To Extend Health Emergency Until Testing Increases
The American Hospital Association on Friday (June 19) called on HHS to extend the public health emergency declaration set to expire on July 25 until testing capacity increases and fewer people test positive for COVID-19. The letter was sent out a day before President Donald Trump told supporters at a Tulsa rally that he asked officials to slow down testing.

CMS Data Affirm Black Beneficiaries Hospitalized Most For COVID-19
CMS on Monday (June 22) released sought-after Medicare data on beneficiaries' COVID-19 outcomes that found black beneficiaries had the highest rates of hospitalization, followed by Hispanic beneficiaries, Asian beneficiaries and white beneficiaries -- but CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the data also showed the impact of socioeconomic status and the need for providers to move to value-based care.

Administration Says Insurers Not Responsible For Broad COVID-19 Testing
The Trump administration clarified this week that insurers will not have to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing conducted for broader purposes such as return to work screenings, but it left the broader question of who will be responsible for those costs unanswered. In a wide-ranging frequently asked questions document, the administration also says that the CARES Act generally blocks providers from balance billing patients for their COVID-19 tests but fails to provide guidance on how payers should address out-of-network providers who have not posted rates.

Hahn: COVID-19 Data Sharing, Review Strategies Should Be Permanent
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Wednesday (June 24) told international leaders that he would like to see FDA make permanent some of the data-sharing strategies and product review processes that it put in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

States Explore Unique COVID-19 Related Ways To Spend CARES Funds
States are exploring a variety of unique ways to spend the CARES Act funding, going beyond directly helping businesses and the homeless to increasing trash capacity and digitalizing museums' artifacts, Inside Health Policy has learned.

HRSA Gets 908K Requests For COVID-19 Funds To Test, Treat Uninsured
HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) tells Inside Health Policy that it has received more than 908,700 claims to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing or treatment for uninsured individuals since the reimbursement program went live in May. As of June 17, HRSA says, the 3,940 providers who've agreed to the terms and services of the reimbursement program have been reimbursed $31,569,044 for testing claims and $154, 975,155 for treatment claims.

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