Letter campaign to the U.S. Senate, Medicare should track Healthcare Acquired Covid and require masks to prevent it
In 2023 alone, over 138,000 COVID infections have occurred across the US in healthcare settings. The policy to end universal masking and hospital pre-procedure COVID testing in healthcare settings is dangerous, unethical, and based on flawed data. A new important study [Pak et al] – showed that COVID infections in hospitals surged after U.K. stopped universal screening on admission. Please join us in sending a clear message to your Senators that you demand them to call on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to require protections and universal masking in healthcare settings, continued reporting of healthcare acquired COVID infections, and to count COVID as one of several other conditions in reducing payments to hospital for healthcare services. Health care is the most essential place to prevent spread of infection, and keeping healthcare settings safe should be a bare minimum of accessibility.
Letter to Senators (the form will route the letter to your Senators):
The healthcare system should be a place of healing, where the risk of acquiring infections is minimized. Strong, consistent infection control practices, long recognized as a key gauge of medical care quality, are crucial to limit COVID’s spread. Without these practices, healthcare acquired COVID infections (HAIs) will remain high. Hospitals must adequately measure and track COVID HAIs, therefore COVID must be added to the list of other conditions tracked in the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program conducted by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and measured by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Removing masks and hospital pre-procedure COVID testing in healthcare puts both patients and healthcare workers at risk, which could place even more strain on the healthcare system amidst severe staffing shortages. The absence of masking and other strong COVID prevention practices is also deterring many people from seeking care.
We urge you, as a steward of the American public’s health, to act in the best interests of all of us, and especially the most at risk, and have Medicare require masking in patient care areas and public spaces of all healthcare settings and include metrics for hospital onset - COVID in the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program,. CMS must include universal masking and hospital COVID admission testing as part of their payment requirements when they consider 2024’s Proposed Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems for Acute Care Hospitals, inclusive of the HAC Reduction Program, Docket (CMS-2023-0057).