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February 18, 2022

Around the nation: Virginia governor bans mask mandates in schools

Daily Briefing

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signed a bill that will end school mask mandates in the state, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

  • Maryland: CMS in late March plans to launch a new monthly special enrollment period (SEP) for consumers with household incomes that fall below 150% of the federal poverty level who aren't eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program. The federally facilitated health insurance marketplace intends to reach out via phone or email to previous applicants who could be eligible for the new SEP. Applicants will also be able to contact the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596 for enrollment assistance. (AHA News, 2/16)
  • Virginia: Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) on Wednesday signed a bill that will end school mask mandates in the state. Under the legislation, parents will be able to opt their children out of wearing a mask. The bill went into effect immediately, and schools have until March 1 to comply. Last month, Youngkin attempted to ban mask mandates by executive order—a move that was met with several lawsuits. "[We are] reaffirming the rights that we know all parents have, the fundamental rights to make decisions for your children, for their education, for their upbringing and for their care," Youngkin said. He added that students and parents "have been so strong through all of this." (Garfinkel, Axios, 2/16; Schneider et al., Washington Post, 2/16)
  • Wisconsin: UW Health on Wednesday announced plans to raise its minimum wage to $17 an hour, effective May 2022—an increase from the health system's current $15 an hour minimum wage. The increase will impact over 200 job titles and more than 20% of the health system's workforce. "We are raising the bar again to support the dedicated and talented staff here at UW Health and ensure we can bring in the new, highly skilled and driven staff we need to support our health system and care for our community," said Betsy Clough, UW Health's chief human resources officer. (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 2/16)

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