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Pediatric groups urge Biden to issue national emergency over respiratory viruses

18 Nov 2022 9:20 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

The Children's Hospital Association and American Academy of Pediatrics are calling on federal officials to declare a national and public health emergency to free up resources and give hospitals more flexibility to respond to an "alarming surge of pediatric hospitalizations" from respiratory syncytial virus and flu. [Becker's Hospital Review]

In a Nov. 14 letter sent to President Joe Biden and HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, the pediatric groups said the confluence of capacity issues from respiratory viruses and ongoing children's mental health needs "requires nimbleness and flexibility that can only be provided through a presidential declaration of an emergency under the Stafford Act or National Emergencies Act and a public health emergency declaration."

Such declarations would allow a waiver of certain Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program requirements, according to the groups. For example, waivers may alleviate hospitals from Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act requirements "that may impede transferring patients and creating off-site triage to manage capacity challenges."

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