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Hospitals & Health Systems Express Opposition to HB 1210

 

Concord, NH - Hospital leaders urged the members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today to reject HB 1210, calling it a dangerous piece of legislation that would put billions of dollars in federal Medicare and Medicaid funding at risk and prevent hospitals, businesses, colleges, universities and more from making decisions about the most appropriate health and safety protocols for their patients, customers, students, caregivers and employees.

 

“HB 1210 would upend the ability of hospitals from implementing evidence-based health and safety protocols, such as vaccine requirements, for their staff and put patients and caregivers at risk of infection not only from COVID-19, but other conditions for which vaccines are currently required,” noted Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association (NHHA). “Hospitals already grant reasonable exemptions for legitimate medical and religious concerns. But requiring employers, including hospitals, to grant any exemption request for medical, religious or conscientious objection would effectively render any vaccine requirement moot and put patients at greater risk of infection, serious illness and death.”

 

Kevin Donovan, NHHA Board Chair, highlighted the significant financial risk HB 1210 poses for New Hampshire’s hospitals and the entire health care system. “Passage of this bill would put New Hampshire on a collision course with the federal vaccine requirements promulgated and supported by recent Supreme Court rulings, that do not allow for exemptions based on rights of conscience or the automatic granting of medical or religious exemptions. This would put in jeopardy the Medicare and Medicaid funding New Hampshire’s hospitals receive annually.” In 2020, the last full year of available date, that amounted to $2.3 billion for hospitals alone.

 

In recent guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency has made it very clear: The sole enforcement remedy for non-compliance for hospitals and certain other acute and continuing care providers is termination.

 

Hospitals in New Hampshire must comply with the CMS vaccine requirements to ensure that their participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs is not terminated and put in jeopardy, placing the health care of all Granite Staters at risk.

Hospital leaders urged the Committee to reject HB 1210 by finding it inexpedient to legislate.