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Update on COVID-19 response

HANYS continues to support our members’ efforts in response to COVID-19. We are encouraged by data showing New York’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are declining and we are incredibly grateful for the continued dedication of New York’s healthcare workers.                

State response       

On Tuesday, April 21, Gov. Cuomo announced elective outpatient treatments can resume on April 28 in counties and hospitals without significant risk of a COVID-19 surge, specifically if hospital capacity is over 25% for the county and if there have been fewer than 10 new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the county over the past 10 days. In an April 16 letter, HANYS urged the governor to consider a data-driven approach to resuming elective surgeries in geographic regions of the state less impacted by COVID-19, saying it “is a vital step New York can take to begin rebuilding.” HANYS will continue working with DOH and the governor to ensure any guidance issued includes the broadest flexibility to allow as many hospitals as possible the opportunity to resume procedures as clinically appropriate. 

On Wednesday, April 22, the Department of Financial Services issued a supplemental circular letter suspending prior authorization requirements for hospital outpatient services, eliminating retrospective review for all in-network hospital services, requiring plans to expedite and pay outstanding hospital claims and requiring plans to work with hospitals to assist with cash flow issues. HANYS President Bea Grause, RN, JD, issued the following statement in response:

“HANYS thanks Gov. Cuomo and Superintendent Lacewell for recognizing how the COVID-19 crisis has put enormous clinical and financial strains on hospitals.

We appreciate DFS taking this strong action to eliminate administrative barriers to care for all hospital-based treatment during this crisis. Furthermore, requiring plans to infuse cash through expedited payment of monies owed and to work with hospitals to provide additional financial assistance is the right thing to do and an important step toward hospitals being able to continue providing care during this crisis.

HANYS advocated strongly for the removal of preauthorization, concurrent, retroactive and medical necessity reviews, as they impose unnecessary burdens on hospitals at a time when all their resources should be devoted to urgent patient care.”

On Thursday, April 23, the governor announced a new directive requiring nursing homes “to immediately report to DOH actions they have taken to comply with all DOH and CDC laws, regulations, directives and guidance.” He also announced a partnership with Attorney General Letitia James to investigate executive order violations. HANYS is in daily contact with state policymakers and continues to strongly advocate for more PPE, testing and other resources for our post-acute and continuing care members.

HANYS has a spreadsheet summarizing the executive orders issued by the governor; this document has been updated to reflect new executive orders.

Federal response

This week, the U.S. Senate and House passed a $484 billion COVID-19 response bill, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This will increase funds for hospitals and infuse dollars into the Paycheck Protection Program. The bill includes an additional $75 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, supplementing the $100 billion included in the CARES Act, which will fund hospitals and other healthcare providers directly. The bill also includes $25 billion for testing. President Trump signed the legislation into law today.

We thank Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and New York’s entire congressional delegation for their continued advocacy on behalf of New York’s healthcare providers.

The USNS Comfort hospital ship is no longer accepting new patients and is making preparations to leave New York. During their April 21 meeting, President Trump asked Gov. Cuomo that the ship return to its base in Virginia for potential use in other regions to which the governor agreed.

Resources and updates

Please see our COVID-19 Member Updates for all of our latest news and notifications. We continue to post resources for our members on our COVID-19 webpage. Please reach out to HANYS if you have any questions, need assistance or would like to make us aware of issues you are facing to inform our work with policymakers.

Published April 24, 2020