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October 12, 2020

Around the nation: Commission cancels second presidential debate

Daily Briefing

    The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the decision on Friday, a day before President Trump's physician announced the president was no longer contagious, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia and Tennessee.

    • District of Columbia: The Commission on Presidential Debates on Friday officially canceled the second debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president. However, the Commission on Friday also reiterated its plans to host the final presidential debate on Nov. 22 in Nashville. On Saturday, Sean Conley, Trump's physician, released a memo stating that Trump is "no longer considered a transmission risk to others." Conley in the memo added, "This evening I am happy to report that in addition to the president meeting C.D.C. criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning's Covid P.C.R. sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others." Trump has scheduled a campaign event for Monday evening (Haberman et al., New York Times, 10/10; New York Times, 10/10). 

    • District of Columbia: The Supreme Court in an unsigned opinion issued Thursday declined to grant the Trump administration's request to reinstate an FDA rule that had required women seeking medication abortion drugs to first visit a doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. In July, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in a case challenging the rule, which was filed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other medical and advocacy organizations, issued a nationwide injunction blocking FDA's requirement, and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit later rejected a request to place Chuang's order on hold. Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall then asked the Supreme Court to issue an emergency stay on Chuang's order in the case, but the Supreme Court's Thursday opinion allows the order to remain in place and directs Chuang to "promptly consider" the federal government's "motion … to dissolve, modify, or stay the injunction" (Barnes, Washington Post, 10/8; Ollstein, Politico, 10/8; Associated Press, 10/8).

    • Tennessee: HCA Healthcare on Thursday announced that it plans to return the $1.6 billion in grants it received under the federal Provider Relief Fund—and to pay back $4.4 billion in Medicare accelerated payments the health system had received earlier. "As the initial immediacy of the [public health] emergency [related to America's coronavirus epidemic] has passed, and with more information, and more experience managing our operations during the [epidemic], we believe returning these taxpayer dollars is appropriate and the socially responsible thing to do," HCA CEO Sam Hazen said in a statement. "Our focus will remain on supporting our patients, employees and physicians and continuing the vital role we play in the communities we serve" (Bannow, Modern Healthcare, 10/8; Owens, "Vitals," Axios, 10/9).

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