States challenge CMS vaccination mandate, 6 more federal government updates

A CMS emergency regulation issued Nov. 4 requires COVID-19 vaccination of staff at healthcare facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Since it was issued, a coalition of 10 states has sued the federal government in an attempt to halt the mandate. 

Here are six more updates from the federal government in the last two weeks: 

1. CMS on Nov. 2 finalized the Outpatient Prospective Payment System and ASC Payment System final rule for 2022.  Major changes included the removal of 255 procedures from the ASC-payable list, cuts to physician fees and the change of a colorectal cancer screening rule. 

2. HHS will invest $785 million in funding to bolster COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives in the hardest-hit and vulnerable populations, White House officials said Nov. 10. 

3. Bipartisan legislation aimed to improve CMS access to ASCs, dubbed the Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act of 2021, was recently introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. Reps. John Larson, D-Conn., and Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Bill Cassidy, MD, R-La., introduced the bill. 

4. The White House unveiled several key healthcare changes as part of its broader $1.75 trillion domestic spending package in an Oct. 28 fact sheet. The framework would reduce premiums for more than 9 million Americans who buy insurance through the ACA marketplace. The reduction would cut premiums by an average of $600 per person per year. 

5. HHS proposed repealing its "sunset" rule that would require the department to eliminate existing regulations after 10 years unless the department reviewed them and could justify keeping the regulation in place, according to an Oct. 28 Federal Register notice.

6. First lady Jill Biden, EdD, is leading a campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccinations for young children. Here are three ways the White House is promoting pediatric COVID-19 vaccines. 

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