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We applaud the leadership in the US Senate and the US House of Representatives in passing the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which provides critical funding relief for the hospitals and health systems who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.  As New Hampshire today faces the highest levels of infection and hospitalization since the outset of this pandemic, taking its tragic toll on patients, families and healthcare providers, this legislation will help ensure that our health care system can continue the fight against COVID-19 while providing essential healthcare services to their patients and communities.

This COVID-19 legislation provides critical support to hospitals and health systems, including the elimination of cuts to the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program for the next three years, providing additional support to hospitals who serve our most vulnerable populations; greater flexibility for hospitals relative to the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) reporting guidelines; additional funding for the PRF; additional funding for COVID-19 vaccines and testing; and provides an important first step in protecting patients from surprise medical bills.

While all of these measures help support hospitals and health systems across the country in their efforts to continue providing needed care to their patients and communities during this public health crisis, additional funding relief will be necessary to ensure the financial viability and stability of the nation’s health care system as it continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We appreciate the leadership of New Hampshire’s Congressional leaders, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Maggie Hassan, Representative Ann McLane Kuster and Representative Chris Pappas, in pushing this legislation through and ensuring crucial support for our hospitals and healthcare systems.  We look forward to its passage by the Administration, and to working with our state and federal partners to carry out this important legislation to strengthen the efforts of health care heroes on the front lines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.