When is Congress in session? House 2024 Calendar Senate 2024 Calendar

What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings and Markups –

  • Wednesday, February 14
    • House Energy & Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health, “Hearing on Legislative Proposals to Support Patients and Caregivers.” Additional Information
  • Thursday, February 15
    • House Oversight and Accountability Committee, “Assessing America’s Vaccine Safety Systems, Part 1.” Additional Information
    • House Veterans Affairs Committee, “Artificial Intelligence at the VA: Exploring Its Current State and Future Possibilities.” Additional Information
    • House Veterans Affairs Committee, “Electronic Health Record Modernization Deep Dive.” Additional Information

Notable Policy Events – 

  • Tuesday, February 13
    • R Street, “The Case for Expanded Methadone Access.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • RAND Corporation, “Town Hall Meetings on RAND’s Survey of State Maternal Health Initiatives.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Wednesday, February 14
    • SIRONA STRATEGIES, “Valentine’s Day Lunchtime Webinar: Medicare Advantage Policy.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information 
    • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), “Lessons with the State of Washington on Medicaid Data and Tobacco Use.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • CMS, “AHEAD Model Hospital Global Budgets Webinar.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Thursday, February 15
    • CMS, “Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design Model Calendar Year 2025 Request for Applications Webinar.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Commonwealth Fund, “Revealing Disparities: Health Care Workers’ Observations of Discrimination Against Patients.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), “ONC Real World Testing Webinar.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information

Weekly Wrap-Up: Notable Health Care Developments from Last Week

Medicare & Medicaid –

  • On February 6, CMS announced the annual update to the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) Chartbook with data for 2021. The Chartbook is organized into four domains: Medicare Population Overview; Beneficiary Health and Well-Being; Health Care Access and Satisfaction; and Health Care Use and Expenditures. Chartbook 
  • Also on February 6, CMS released a memo which provides clarification about how CMS expects Medicare Advantage plans to comply with new rules issued in the CY 2024 Technical Rule, issued in April 2023, including how artificial intelligence or algorithms can and cannot be utilized to make coverage decisions. Memo
  • On February 8, CMS released a telehealth toolkit that provides information on the reporting requirements detailed in the Safer Communities Act and resources for states on improving access to telehealth for Medicaid and CHIP services. Toolkit
  • On February 9, Sens. Cortez Masto (D-NV), Blackburn (R-TN), Thune (R-SD), Barrasso (R-WY), Stabenow (D-MI), and Warner (D-VA) announced the formation of a Medicare payment reform working group to propose long-term reforms to the physician fee schedule and updates to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Press Release

Payment & Delivery System Models –

  • On February 6, CMS released an At-A-Glance Summary of its Transformation Initiative, intended to accelerate care delivery reform through value-based payment models. Summary
  • On February 8, CMS released performance information and results for Measurement Year 3 of the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Treatment Choices (ETC) Model. ETC Model

Public Health Prevention, Preparedness, Surveillance –

  • On February 6, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced new actions through its Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Modernization Initiative, including a request for proposals to support multiple different contract awards and modernize organ matching technology. Press Release
  • Also on February 6, HHS released the National Public Health Strategy to Prevent and Control Vector-Borne Diseases in People. Strategy

Health IT, Privacy, & Digital Health – 

  • On February 5, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the ONC announced a $20 million initiative to advance health information technology (IT) in behavioral health care and practice settings. Announcement
  • On February 6, ONC announced it will delay the effective date of its recently released HTI-1 final rule from February 9 until March 11 to fix a technical error. Notice
  • Also on February 6, CMS announced revisions to the Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program to collect information from eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs). Comments are due by March 7, 2024. Notice
  • Also on February 6, ONC released a blog post highlighting its efforts to advance social determinants of health (SDOH) interoperability. Blog 
  • On February 7, HRSA released a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) to support multi-state collaborations to enable licensed health care professionals to provide physical health and behavioral health services through telehealth technology across states. Applications are due April 8, 2024. Grant

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Policy – 

  • On February 8, SAMHSA released a rule finalizing modifications to the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patient Records regulations at 42 CFR part 2 (“Part 2”), which protect the privacy of patients’ SUD treatment records. Press Release Rule
  • Also on February 8, Sen. Manchin (D-WV) released a blog, applauding the SAMHSA Part 2 rule. Blog

Prescription Drugs & Health Innovation – On February 6, Senate HELP Committee Chair Sanders (I-VT) released a report on three pharmaceutical drug companies’ business models, pricing, compensation, and patent practices. Press Release Report

SDOH & Health Equity –

  • On February 6, Rep. Burgess (R-TX) published an op-ed, “Lower healthcare spending by better measuring the benefits of prevention,” in which he urges Congress to pass the Preventive Health Savings Act. Op-ed
  • Also on February 6, the White House released a fact sheet outlining the Administration’s progress towards advancing equity and opportunities for Black Americans. Fact Sheet
  • On February 9, HHS announced eight states and DC have been selected to participate in a new federal initiative, the “Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator,” to address homelessness. Press Release

Health Systems & Health Care Workforce – 

  • On February 6, the Administration of Community Living released a final rule to update the regulations for implementing its Older Americans Act (OAA) programs. The new regulations will take effect on March 15, 2024, but regulated entities have until October 1, 2025 to comply. Fact Sheet Final Rule
  • On February 8, CMS released a proposed rule intended to bolster oversight of Accrediting Organizations (AOs) by addressing conflicts of interest, establishing consistent standards, processes and definitions, and updating the validation and performance standards systems. Comments are due April 15, 2024. Fact Sheet Proposed Rule

Legislative Activity 

Votes and Committee Activity –

  • On February 6, the House Budget Committee advanced the Preventive Health Savings Act (H.R. 766) by a vote of 30 to 0. The bill would amend the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 respecting the scoring of preventive health savings. The bill now heads to the full House for consideration. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on February 6, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee advanced the Delinking Revenue from Unfair Gouging (DRUG) Act (H.R. 6283) by a voice vote. The bill would improve services provided by pharmacy benefit managers. The bill now heads to the full House for consideration. Bill Text Press Release
  • On February 7, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting Care for All Patients Act (H.R. 485) by a partisan vote of 211 to 208. The bill would prohibit the use of quality-adjusted life years and similar measures in coverage and payment determinations under Federal health care programs. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. Bill Text Press Release Votes

Introduced Legislation –

  • On February 5, Reps. Guthrie (R-KY), Tonko (D-NY), Smith (R-NJ), and Waters (D-CA) introduced the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act (H.R. 7218), which would extend the program for promotion of public health knowledge and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on February 5, Reps. Buchanan (R-FL) and Thompson (D-CA) introduced the Lowering Costs for Caregivers Act (H.R. 7222), which would allow expenses for parents to be taken into account as medical expenses. Sens. Rosen (D-NV) and Cassidy (R-LA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate (S. 3254) on November 8, 2023. Additional Information
  • On February 6, Rep. Fischbach (R-MN) and six bipartisan cosponsors introduced the Hearing Device Coverage Clarification Act (H.R. 7254), which would clarify that fully implanted active middle ear hearing devices are prosthetics and are not subject to the hearing aid coverage exclusion under the Medicare program. Press Release
  • Also on February 6, Reps. Miller (R-WV) and Kuster (D-NH) introduced the Community Training, Education, and Access for Medical Students (TEAMS) Act (H.R. 7258), which would provide community-based training opportunities for medical students in rural areas and medically underserved communities. Bill Text Press Release
  • On February 7, Reps. Underwood (D-IL) and Schrier (D-WA) introduced the Child Suicide Prevention and Lethal Means Safety Act (H.R. 7265), which would award grants to establish or expand programs to implement evidence-aligned practices in health care settings for the purpose of reducing the suicide rates of covered individuals. Sen. Schatz (D-HI) and seven cosponsors introduced the companion legislation in the Senate (S. 3779).  Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on February 7, Rep. Underwood (D-IL) introduced the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Act (H.R. 7266), which would authorize grants to support schools of nursing in increasing the number of nursing students and faculty and in program enhancement and infrastructure modernization. Sen. Merkley (D-OR) and nine cosponsors introduced the companion legislation in the Senate (S. 3770) on February 8. Bill Text Press Release Section-by-Section
  • Also on February 7, Reps. Tonko (D-NY) and Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Disability Community Act (H.R. 7267), which would provide a temporary higher Federal medical assistance percentage for Federal expenditures under the Medicaid program that are associated with the cost of compliance with certain Federal regulations with respect to services furnished in certain intermediate care facilities or home and community-based services furnished to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Press Release
  • Also on February 7, Reps. Foster (D-IL), Beatty (D-OH), Van Drew (R-NJ), and Moore (D-WI) introduced the Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (CARE) Act  (H.R. 7282), which would provide States with an option to provide medical assistance to individuals between the ages of 22 and 64 for inpatient services to treat substance use disorders at certain facilities. Bill Text  Press Release
  • Also on February 7, Sens. Rubio (R-FL), Carper (D-DE), and Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the At Home Observation and Medical Evaluation (HOME) Services Act (S. 3756), which would establish a new pilot program that would test coverage of outpatient observation services furnished outside a hospital under the Acute Hospital Care at Home initiative. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on February 7, Sens. Durbin (D-IL) and Young (R-IN) introduced the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act (S. 3757), which would reauthorize the congenital heart disease research, surveillance, and awareness program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Press Release