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

What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings and Markups –

  • Friday, February 23 
    • Senate Special Committee on Aging, “Medicare & Medicare Advantage Field Hearing: Challenges and Opportunities with Enrollment.” Additional Information 

Notable Policy Events – 

  • Tuesday, February 20 
    • Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC), “Interoperability Standards Workgroup.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), “2024 TEFCA RCE Monthly Informational Call.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Wednesday, February 21 
    • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), “Healing Relationships Authentically to Sustain a Healthy Community: A STRETCH National Convening.” Free, Virtual.  Additional Information
  • Thursday, February 22 
    • Health Affairs, “Policy Spotlight: One-on-One with Micky Tripathi, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Kaiser Family Foundation, “Prior Authorization in Health Insurance: A Needed Tool to Contain Costs or an Excessive Barrier to Needed Care?” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Paragon Health Institute, “Improving Medicare through Medicare Advantage.” Free, In-Person. Additional Information

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

Medicare & Medicaid –

  • On February 12, CMS released an updated Medicaid and CHIP Vaccine Toolkit, which serves as a consolidated and comprehensive compilation of vaccination policies. Toolkit
  • On February 13, CMS released a set of Quality Improvement (QI) Tools designed to help states improve behavioral health follow-up care for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. Resources
  • On February 15, CMS released Updated Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Prospective Payment System (PPS) Technical Guidance for states on developing clinic-specific PPS rates, cost reporting, and claiming Medicaid expenditures.  Guidance
  • Also on February 15, CMS released the second part of draft guidance for the Medicare Prescription Payment Plan that outlines requirements for Medicare Part D plan sponsors, including outreach and education requirements, pharmacy processes, and operational considerations, for the program’s first year, 2025. Second Part GuidanceFact Sheet Timeline Press Release
  • On February 16, CMS released a brief highlighting the results from states that participated in the Improving Postpartum Care Learning Collaborative. Brief

Payment & Delivery System Models –

  • On February 15, CMS released new resources for the AHEAD Model, including the financial specifications for the CMS-designed hospital global budget methodology and a fact sheet on model overlaps which covers how the AHEAD Model interacts with other CMS Innovation Center models. Financial Specifications Overlap Fact Sheet
  • On February 16, CMS released the second evaluation report for the Integrated Care for Kids (InCK) Model which highlights findings from the first implementation year. Evaluation

Public Health Prevention, Preparedness, Surveillance –

  • On February 12, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Rodgers (R-WA), Health Subcommittee Chair Guthrie (R-KY), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Griffith (R-VA) requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) study oversight by HHS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of sales of laboratory equipment and protective clothing that could be used to facilitate bioterrorism or warfare. Letter Press Release

Health IT, Privacy, & Digital Health – 

  • On February 12, ONC announced two additional organizations, CommonWell Health Alliance and Kno2, designated as Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs) under the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA). Press Release
  • Also on February 12, Senate Finance Chair Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Khan and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gensler raising concerns about inappropriate use of sensitive health information by a data broker. Letter Press Release
  • On February 13, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report which found that Evaluation and Management (E/M) Services provided via telehealth generally complied with Medicare requirements during the first nine months of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Report in Brief Report
  • On February 15, ONC highlighted research from a survey of digital health companies which shows that most companies use standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs) when integrating with electronic health records (EHRs). Research Blog Post

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Policy – 

  • On February 15, GAO issued a report finding that the percentage of student veterans receiving mental health care at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities increased from fiscal years 2017 through 2022, and at a higher rate than all veterans. Highlights Full Report Press Release
  • On February 16, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), announced four awards totaling $5.1 million for Family Counseling and Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex+ Youth and their Families. Press Release

Prescription Drugs & Health Innovation – 

  • On February 14, the FTC and HHS released a request for information (RFI) regarding how the practices of group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and drug wholesalers may be contributing to generic drug shortages. Comments are due April 14, 2024. Press Release RFI
  • On February 15, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Sanders (I-VT) sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Califf, urging FDA to require corporations in the food and beverage industry to put strong, evidence-based warning labels on their products to protect the health of the American people. Letter Press Release
  • On February 16, HHS OIG released a Report to Congress on the Reported Impact of Discarded-Drug Refunds on Biosimilar Biological Products. Report in Brief Report

SDOH & Health Equity –

  • On February 12, CMS announced the Call for Nominations for the 2024 CMS Health Equity Award. Nominations are due by March 13, 2024 and will be announced at the 2024 Health Equity Conference on May 29-30. Nomination Form
  • On February 14, HHS released an update to its Equity Action Plan, which is part of the Department’s efforts to implement the President’s Executive Order on “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through The Federal Government.” Executive Order HHS Press Release White House Fact Sheet
  • Also on February 14, HHS launched the Postpartum Maternal Health Collaborative. The six states participating in the Collaborative are Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Mexico. Press Release
  • Also on February 14, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released its 2024 Agency Equity Action Plan. Press Release

Health Systems & Health Care Workforce – 

  • On February 15, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) announced it is accepting applications for grants to support partnerships between community care hubs (CCHs) and health care organizations. Applications are due April 5, 2024. Press Release

Misc. –  

  • On February 12, CMS announced changes to its research data request and access policies. CMS issued a request for information (RFI) to gain a better understanding of the potential issues researchers may encounter. Responses are due March 29, 2024. Policy Changes RFI 
  • On February 16, HHS announced that all currently applicable Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) extensions will end on March 14, 2024. Notice

Legislative Activity 

Votes and Committee Activity –

  • On February 13, the Senate passed the Removing Extraneous Loopholes Insuring Every Veteran Emergency Act (RELIEVE) Act (H.R. 815) by a bipartisan vote of 70-29. The bill would make certain improvements relating to the eligibility of veterans to receive reimbursement for emergency treatment furnished through the Veterans Community Care program. Bill Text Vote

Introduced Legislation –

  • On February 12, Sen. Rubio (R-FL) introduced the (S. 3799), which would evaluate how the frequency of summary notices provided to patients can be increased. Bill Text Press Release