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December 4, 2020 News Headlines

First shipments of COVID-19 vaccine coming soon

Gov. Cuomo announced Wednesday the state is expected to receive its first shipment of vaccine — enough for 170,000 people — as early as Dec. 15. This schedule assumes rapid approval of the first Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, which is scheduled to meet Dec. 10 to consider the Pfizer/BioNTech EUA application.

Consistent with CDC recommendations, New York is expected to prioritize frontline healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and staff with the early shipments of vaccine. Contact: Chris Smith

New York COVID-19 response shifts focus to hospital capacity

In response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the governor announced Monday that the state will enter a new phase of COVID-19 response. The new formula is designed to ensure that health systems and hospitals can accommodate increased demand and to provide emergency actions if a system becomes overwhelmed. Several metrics will be added to the cluster-zone formula to assess capacity including hospitalization and death rates, availability of beds, staff, PPE and other equipment and effective patient load management. Additionally, hospitals must prepare to implement statewide surge and flex plans, which includes increasing staff, bed capacity and PPE stockpiles and determining how to move patients among systems.

Gov. Cuomo also issued EO 202.79 which extends the declaration of emergency and the majority of essential healthcare- and workforce-related waivers another thirty days to Jan. 1. This EO also included a provision to ensure patient load management can be implemented by suspending 10 NYCRR 405.9 (h)(7) to “permit general hospitals treating patients during the disaster emergency to rapidly transfer or receive such patients and to enable inter- or intra-system patient load-balancing as may be required by the Commissioner of Health, provided such facilities take all reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of such patients including safe transfer practices.”

HANYS will continue to review and provide updates as new information and guidance becomes available. Contact: Katie Gordon

CMS announces new Medicare Part B and biologicals payment model

CMS announced the Most Favored Nation Model, which will lower prescription drug costs to no more than the lowest price that the drug manufacturers receive in similar countries. This mandatory model will begin Jan. 1 and end Dec. 31, 2027. HANYS will send out a comprehensive summary of the interim final rule with comment in the coming weeks.

For more details refer to CMS’ Fact Sheet available online. Contact: Melanie Graham

State legislative activity update

Gov. Cuomo has approved 304 bills in 2020. There are currently 73 bills that have passed both houses and are awaiting delivery to the governor. This past week, the following bill of interest to HANYS and our members was signed into law:

Frontline Workers Trauma Informed Care Advisory Council. This HANYS-supported bill establishes the Frontline Workers Trauma Informed Care Advisory Council within the Office of Mental Health to address trauma-related behavioral health needs of frontline workers during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law (Chapter 295 of 2020) takes effect immediately.

For questions on the above or any other legislative activity or issues, please contact our state governmental affairs team: Amy Nickson, vice president, governmental affairs; Katie Gordon, director, research and legislation; and Scott Janke, director, state governmental affairs.

Member Spotlight: Jamaica Hospital Medical Center ensures a healthy start for newborns

Breast milk is proven to significantly improve childhood nutrition and development and decrease certain childhood infections. In addition, the inclusion of breast milk into a newborn’s diet can save millions in treatment costs for acute illness down the line. In October 2017, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center created its Volunteer Milk Depot, a branch of the nonprofit New York Milk Bank, to provide breast milk to newborns and increase breastfeeding among new mothers in the community.

Read our full story to learn more about this initiative and its results.

This story is just one of the many initiatives profiled on HANYS' Member Spotlight website that demonstrate how New York healthcare providers are investing in forward-looking initiatives that improve care quality and health outcomes. 

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