Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of April 11

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA Covid-19 updateThe number of confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 in Michigan went up April 7-13 from the previous week, rising from an average of 750 per day to 1,104 per day. Out of the 7,725 confirmed and suspected cases that week, 81 Michiganders died. On April 13, 482 adults and 14 children were hospitalized in Michigan with confirmed and suspected COVID-19, with 104 in intensive care units and 40 using ventilators to breathe. The state is currently reporting this information once a week. Nationwide, the daily average case rate was 29,401 as of April 13, with 452 deaths per day attributed to COVID-19. Federal officials have warned of an uptick as the BA.2 variant spreads and many locations drop mask requirements and social distancing measures.

The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

Health Secretary Extends Public Health Emergency

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced April 12 that the HHS is extending the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) another 90 days effective April 16, pushing the new expiration to mid-July.

The extension will continue the relaxation of several healthcare-related regulations, including:

  • Continued coverage of expanded telehealth services for government and private payer beneficiaries.
  • Continuous enrollment in Medicaid and the Medicaid federal match rate:
    • The 90-day extension of the PHE will extend the enhanced federal match rate through Sept. 30, reducing the provider taxes hospitals pay to support certain Medicaid supplemental payment pools as well as reducing the state’s general fund contribution to the overall Medicaid program.
    • The PHE extension also extends the Medicaid enrollment maintenance of effort (MOE) by 90 days, which means the state will generally not remove individuals from the Medicaid program for another quarter. Michigan Medicaid enrollment is now more than 3 million people due to the current PHE-related MOE.
  • The continuation of permissible use of COVID-19 tests, vaccines and therapeutics still operating under emergency use authorization.
  • Liability protection for certain provider types administering COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Swing bed flexibility.
  • Certain requirements for critical access and rural hospitals.
  • CRNA supervision waived.
  • Other regulations.

MHA members are encouraged to review an overview from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services outlining all federal requirements for healthcare providers that are modified while the PHE remains in place.

The HHS intends to provide states with at least 60 days’ notice prior to any possible termination or expiration of the PHE in the future.

The American Hospital Association and Children’s Hospital Association, with the MHA’s support, have urged the HHS to better define long COVID-19 treatment and coverage plans before ending the emergency. The MHA will keep members apprised of any developments on these topics.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).