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Photo: John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services yesterday issued new temporary rules that will allow hospitals to expand their capacity during the coronavirus epidemic.

Between the lines: These new flexibilities are designed to allow health care workers to treat more patients than the system is built for, and to help separate patients with the coronavirus from those without it.

Details: The rules allow facilities ranging from ambulatory surgical centers to convention centers to be repurposed to respond to the pandemic.

  • Ambulatory centers can, for example, be used to provide cancer or trauma care that would normally be performed in hospitals, thus protecting these patients from coronavirus exposure.
  • Non-hospital sites can be used to treat or quarantine patients, allowing hospitals to convert buildings like hotels or gymnasiums into care sites.
  • Hospitals and labs can test for the coronavirus in patients' homes or in community-based settings outside of hospitals, and hospital emergency departments can test and screen patients for COVID-19 at drive-through or off-campus sites.
  • Hospitals are also given new flexibilities that will allow them to rapidly expand their workforce.

Go deeper: What health care is getting out of the stimulus package

Go deeper

7 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

7 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.