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October 25, 2022

Around the nation: President Biden will receive the updated Covid-19 booster

Daily Briefing

    President Joe Biden will receive an updated Covid-19 booster shot, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Maryland.

    • District of Columbia: The White House on Sunday announced that President Biden will receive an updated Covid-19 booster shot today. "The President will receive his updated COVID-19 vaccine and will deliver remarks on the ongoing fight against the virus," the White House said Sunday evening. President Biden, who initially tested positive for the coronavirus in July, is getting an updated vaccine as part of an effort to boost uptake of the new shot. While the updated shots became available last month, only around 7% of eligible Americans received an updated booster as of Oct. 12. (Oshin, The Hill, 10/23)
    • Georgia: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Friday tested positive for the coronavirus. According to CDC, Walensky tested positive Friday night and is experiencing mild symptoms. Walensky, who is current on her vaccines, plans to isolate at home while attending meetings virtually, the agency said. Currently, CDC is monitoring several strains of the omicron variant, which "are evolving rapidly and emerging around the world, including ones that evade some of our treatments," according to White House Covid-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, earlier this month noted that the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants have the potential to be "pretty troublesome" since they are spreading at an increased rate. (Scribner, Axios, 10/22)
    • Maryland: CMS last week disclosed its payment rate for 340B hospitals' drug costs. For all drug claims billed with the 340B drug pricing program discount during 2022, CMS will pay the average sales price plus 6%, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA). Last month, a judge rejected HHS' plan to postpone the delivery of drug payments to 340B hospitals until Jan. 1. "We continue to urge the administration to promptly reimburse all the hospitals that were affected by these unlawful cuts in previous years and to ensure the remainder of the hospital field is not penalized for their prior unlawful policy, especially as hospitals and health systems continue to deal with rising costs for supplies, equipment, drugs, and labor," AHA said. After the ruling, HHS on Sept. 30 said it needed two weeks to adjust payment rates because it "requires revisions to four different electronic data files and then testing by multiple offices to confirm that the revised files function appropriately before the files are loaded to the production environment where they will be used to calculate OPPS reimbursements on a prospective basis." (Asser, HealthLeaders Media, 10/21, AHA News, 10/20)

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