Hyde-Smith seeks greater COVID-19 protections for seniors in high-risk settings

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Mississippi’s U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has signed a bipartisan letter encouraging federal health officials to consider solutions to protect Medicare beneficiaries from high-risk settings and ensure safe access to care as the nation continues to work to combat COVID-19.

The letter, sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, seeks solutions in light of evidence that COVID-19 presents the most severe health risks to older individuals, as well as to those with underlying conditions, making Medicare beneficiaries especially vulnerable to this dangerous coronavirus.

“As we seek additional options for protecting the lives of those most negatively affected by the pandemic, we are writing to encourage you to continue engaging with our offices and relevant stakeholders to build upon these productive steps through effective implementation, along with additional policy levers, as needed, in order to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can access physician-administered Part B-covered infused and injectable medicines in the home setting during the COVID-19 public health emergency,” the Senators wrote.

“We ask that, as you engage with patient advocates, providers, and other stakeholders, you seek out opportunities to further close remaining gaps and, as much as possible, pursue solutions that provide for continuity and consistency in care.  These solutions must ensure beneficiary access to Part B drugs, provide appropriate payment for these drugs, and sufficiently reimburse for administration services rendered when provided in the home setting,” the letter said.

Led by Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), the letter was also signed by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

Full text of the letter is available here.


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