The United States will require all international passengers coming into the country to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test before they board their flight, according to new policy from CDC, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from District of Columbia, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
- District of Columbia: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 6-3 that women seeking medication abortions have to pick up the medication in person at a clinic, rather than by mail or other form of delivery, reinstating an FDA rule that a Maryland judge had previously ruled was too dangerous amid the new coronavirus epidemic. While the majority did not publish an explanation of their ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts in a concurring opinion wrote that he voted to reinstate the requirement because he believes government officials should decide on public health measures, rather than courts. However, Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a dissenting opinion wrote that FDA's rule "imposes an unnecessary, unjustifiable, irrational, and undue burden on women seeking an abortion during the current [epidemic]" (Barnes, Washington Post, 1/12; Savage, Los Angeles Times, 1/12; Bravin, Wall Street Journal, 1/12).
- Georgia: The United States will require all international passengers coming into the country to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test—taken within at least three days of their planned travel date—or proof of having recovered from a novel coronavirus infection before they board their flight, according to new policy from CDC. CDC Director Robert Redfield said while testing "does not eliminate all risk … when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations." The new policy is expected to take effect on Jan. 26 (New York Times, 1/13).
- Pennsylvania: State Attorney General Josh Shapiro has dropped his opposition to the acquisition of Einstein Healthcare Network by Thomas Jefferson University. The decision comes after the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejected a lawsuit—filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and joined by Shapiro's office—to block the acquisition. Shapiro's announcement also follows Jefferson's agreement to invest $200 million over the next seven years in Einstein's health care facilities in North Philadelphia. In a statement, Shapiro's office said Jefferson and Einstein "have committed to making investments in North Philadelphia that will go beyond what was initially proposed and are especially crucial while we face this global health pandemic." Shapiro's office has also dropped out of the lawsuit, although FTC has appealed the ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals (Brubaker, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/12).