June 14, 2021

Around the nation: HHS warns providers not to charge for Covid-19 vaccines or tests

Daily Briefing

    HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on Wednesday sent a letter to health insurers and providers warning they should not bill patients for Covid-19 vaccines or tests, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Missouri, and Pennsylvania.

    • District of Columbia: HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on Wednesday sent a letter to health insurers and providers warning they should not bill patients for Covid-19 vaccines or tests. He added that if they do, certain state or federal "enforcement actions" could be taken. "We recognize that there are costs associated with administering vaccines—from staff trainings to vaccine storage," Becerra wrote. "For these expenses, providers may not bill patients but can seek reimbursement through Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, or other applicable coverage" (Kliff, New York Times, 6/9).
    • Missouri: The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday issued a ruling upholding a lower court's decision to block a Missouri abortion law. Under the law, abortions were banned after eight weeks of pregnancy and/or if they were performed "solely because of a prenatal diagnosis" of Down syndrome. In its ruling, the appellate court said the law equated to a ban on abortion, which was "categorically unconstitutional," adding that there's nothing a person in Missouri "could lawfully do to obtain an abortion at or after the applicable gestational age cut-off" (Axelrod, The Hill, 6/9; Gershman, Wall Street Journal, 6/9).
    • Pennsylvania: Penn State Health has named Deborah Addo as EVP and COO, effective in August. Addo currently serves as president of Inova Loudoun Hospital in Virginia and previously served as executive leader of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. She will succeed Alan Brechbill, who retired last year (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 6/8).

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