House Labor-HHS Advances:
The House continues its annual push on passing fiscal 2022 spending bills ahead of the October 1 deadline. The full House is voting on the Labor-HHS spending bill this week, which is expected to pass narrowly. Included in the spending bill is $13 million for the SORH grant program, an increase of $500,000 over FY 2021. The Appropriations Committee included $79,009,000 for Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Grants, $23,400,000 above the FY 2021 enacted level and $23,242,000 for SHIP, an increase of $2,300,000 over FY 21.
The Committee included $10,000,000 within the total for Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants to establish the Rural Emergency Hospital Technical Assistance Program. This program will provide technical assistance from existing State Flexibility Programs to assist facilities in implementing the new Rural Emergency Hospital model. Finally, the Committee included $4,000,000 within the total for Rural Hospital Flexibility Grants to establish the Rural Provider Modernization Grants program. This program will make grants to support hospitals, public health departments, clinics, and community-based organizations to plan and implement emerging, sustainable models of care.
The Senate will most likely introduce their FY 2022 spending bills in September. NOSORH is working with SORH to contact their Congressional delegations and urge Senate offices to support increased SORH funding for the coming fiscal year.
NOSORH Endorsed Bill nearing Introduction:
Throughout 2021, NOSORH has been working with NRHA and Rep. Graves (R-MO) to introduce legislation that seeks to make important updates and increase funding for the Flex program. NOSORH anticipates Rep. Graves will introduce this bill prior to Congress departing for the August recess.
HHS Extends PHE:
On July 20, HHS extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) through October 20, 2021. The extension means that telehealth and other waivers implemented during the PHE will continue for an additional 90 days. The Biden Administration is expected to continue the PHE through the remainder of the calendar year 2021, if not further. Additionally, many of the telehealth waivers are expected to be extended for a duration beyond the PHE.