THE OUTLOOK FOR HEALTH CARE IN 2023:

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February 10, 2022

Around the nation: New York reverses its mask-or-vaccine mandate for businesses

Daily Briefing

    New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Wednesday announced that the state would no longer enforce its mask-or-vaccine mandate for businesses, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Illinois, and New York.

    • District of Columbia: Two of the Biden administration's top health officials this week announced their departures. Beth Cameron, the National Security Council's (NSC) senior director for global health security and biodefense, will leave her in her position in the spring, remaining with the agency in the coming months "to ensure strong continuity of effort," according to NSC spokesperson, Emily Horne. Initially, Cameron's departure was delayed after she was asked to extend her nine-month commitment to help establish the office. Raj Panjabi, who currently serves as the global malaria coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development will step into the role this spring. In addition to Cameron's departure, President Joe Biden's top science advisor, Eric Lander, on Monday resigned amid questions about why he was able to keep his job after President Biden promised to terminate any aide who disrespected others. In his resignation letter, Lander acknowledged his misconduct, saying, "I have sought to push myself and my colleagues to reach our shared goals—including at times challenging and criticizing. But it is clear that things I said, and the way I said them, crossed the line at times into being disrespectful and demeaning, to both men and women." (Basu, Axios, 2/8; Rogers, New York Times, 2/7)
    • Illinois: The American Medical Association (AMA) and Manatt Health on Monday debuted their "State Toolkit to End the Nation's Drug Overdose Epidemic"—a platform that includes recommendations for policymakers to help individuals with substance abuse disorders gain better access to evidence-based care and treatment. In their announcement, leaders from both groups highlighted that 28 states saw a 30% increase in overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020. "The point is that these policies must not just exist on paper," said Bobby Mukkamala, a member of AMA's overdose epidemic task force. "Our toolkit provides the tools and it's up to all of us to ensure that they're implemented and enforced." (Firth, MedPage Today, 2/7)
    • New York: Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Wednesday announced that New York would no longer enforce its mandate that required indoor businesses to check a person's Covid-19 vaccination status or require masks—a move that comes as Democrats around the United States reevaluate Covid-19 mandates as the omicron wave seemingly recedes. In New York, masks will still be required in schools, child care centers, public transit, correctional facilities, shelters, and nursing home and health care facilities. Notably, the Biden administration has not changed its mask recommendations despite states' recent reversals. (Young/Bocanegra, Politico, 2/9; Lonas, The Hill, 2/8)

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