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

What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings and Markups –

  • Thursday, January 25
    • Senate Special Committee on Aging, “Assisted Living Facilities: Understanding Long-Term Care Options for Older Adults.” Additional Information
  • Friday, January 25
    • Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, “The State of Veterans’ Long-Term Care in Maine – Field Hearing.” Additional Information

Notable Policy Events – 

  • Tuesday, January 22
  • Wednesday, January 23
    • Alliance for Health Policy, “What’s Coming in 2024? Health Policy Forecast for the New Year.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • CMS, “Rural Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Training Grant Pre-Application Webinar.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Thursday, January 24
    • CDC, “Meeting of the Board of Scientific Counselors, Office of Readiness and Response.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), “Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Interdisciplinary, Community-Based Linkages.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Thursday, January 24 to Friday, January 25
    • Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), “January 2024 Public Meeting.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Friday, January 25
    • Bipartisan Policy Center, “The Future of Remote Patient Monitoring.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information.
    • Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), “ONC Webinar HTI-1 Final Rule Information Blocking.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Primary Care Collaborative, “Integrated Primary Care in Medicaid & CHIP.” Virtual, Free. Additional Information

Government Funding – Congress passed a temporary spending bill, by a vote of 77-18 in the Senate and 314-108 in the House, averting a partial government shutdown. President Biden signed the bill into law on January 19, which funds the government until March. White House Statement Bill Text


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

Medicare & Medicaid –

  • On January 16, CMS released a public use file (PUF) on Socio-demographic and Health Characteristics of Medicare Beneficiaries Living in the Community by Dual Eligibility Status in 2021. Infographic PUF
  • Also on January 16, CMS announced the public release of Research Identifiable Files (RIFs) for the Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCAH) waiver program. The AHCAH initiative, launched in November 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allows Medicare-certified hospitals to treat patients with inpatient-level care at home. Press Release
  • Also on January 16, Senate Special Committee on Aging Chair Casey (D-PA) sent letters to three major assisted living facility companies, raising concerns about workforce shortages and expensive and inadequate care in assisted living facilities. Press Release

Marketplaces – On January 17, CMS announced that it is extending the comment period for the proposed rule, “Federal Independent Dispute Resolution Operations,” which was released November 3, 2023. The new comment deadline is February 5, 2024. Notice

Payment & Delivery System Models – 

  • On January 17, CMS announced that it was extending the comment deadline for the request for information (RFI) on the Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model. The RFI seeks information on ways to advance health equity through innovative benefit design; and network standards to expand access to higher quality hospice care. Responses are due February 16, 2024. RFI
  • On January 18, CMS announced the Innovation in Behavioral Health (IBH) Model, which is intended to improve quality of care and outcomes for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries with mental health conditions and/or substance use disorders. The Model will launch in Fall 2024 and is anticipated to operate for eight years in up to eight states. Press Release IBH Model Page IBH Model FAQ Fact Sheet

Public Health Prevention, Preparedness, Surveillance – On January 16, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report, “Public Health Preparedness: HHS Emergency Agency Needs to Strengthen Workforce Planning.” The report recommends ways for the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) to address workforce planning problems and improve emergency response. GAO Report Fact Sheet GAO Report

Health IT, Privacy, & Digital Health – 

  • On January 16, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) announced it is soliciting comments on the 2024 Standards Version Advancement Process (SVAP). Comments are due by May 21, 2024. SVAP
  • Also on January 16, ONC published a blog post, “Ensuring Health IT Application Programming Interface (API) Accessibility for Seamless Data Exchange.” ONC Blog
  • On January 17, CMS released the CMS Interoperability and Prior Authorization Final Rule which requires impacted payers to implement and maintain certain Health Level 7® (HL7®) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources® (FHIR®) application programming interfaces (APIs) to improve the electronic exchange of health care data, as well as to streamline prior authorization processes. Fact Sheet Press Release Rule
  • On January 19, the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCETM), The Sequoia Project, released a bundle of new draft TEFCA materials to support greater use of HL7 FHIR® and make other improvements to the framework. Stakeholders have through February 5, 2024 to provide feedback online. Draft Materials

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Policy – On January 9, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a request for information (RFI) on the prevention and treatment of maternal mental health conditions and substance use disorders. Comments are due January 31, 2024. RFI

Prescription Drugs & Health Innovation – 

  • On January 17, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Cassidy (R-LA) sought information from two community health center systems as part of his investigation into how health care entities use and generate revenue from the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Press Release
  • On January 18, CMS and FDA issued a press release stating that Americans deserve accurate and reliable laboratory developed tests (LDTs), wherever they are made. Press Release

SDOH & Health Equity –

  • On January 16, HRSA released a notice on the Rural Health Care Coordination Program Performance Improvement Measures. The proposed changes include additional components under “Access to Care” and “Population Demographic” sections that seek information about target population, counties served, direct services, and social determinants of health. Notice
  • On January 17, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released new guidance to grant recipients regarding the Foster Youth to Independence program, which provides rental assistance and supportive services to young adults who have left or are transitioning out of foster care or who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness,. Press Release
  • On January 18, the Indian Health Service (IHS) awarded $55 million to 15 tribes and tribal organizations as part of the competitive Small Ambulatory Program to invest in the construction, expansion, or modernization of small ambulatory health care facilities. Press Release

Health Systems & Health Care Workforce 

  • On January 16, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair Tester (D-MT) called on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to ensure children, spouses, and caregivers of veterans who receive health care through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs do not experience disruptions in care due to the program’s transition to reimbursing providers through electronic funds transfer. Press Release
  • Also on January 16, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) launched the Platform Accelerating Rural Access to Distributed and InteGrated Medical care (PARADIGM) program. This program aims to enhance early disease detection and management in rural communities to stem the tide of morbidity and mortality in these populations. Press Release

Miscellaneous – On January 16, GAO released a study on maternal morbidity and mortality in the VA. GAO made multiple recommendations to the VA including having maternity care coordinators screen veterans for mental health conditions and monitoring outcomes by race and ethnicity, among other veteran characteristics. Report Highlights Full Report


Legislative Activity 

Votes and Committee Activity –

  • The House Budget Committee passed the Fiscal Commission Act (H.R. 5779), which would create a commission to expedite consideration of certain fiscal policy changes, including trust funds that support entitlement programs such as Medicare. Senate Finance Chair Wyden (D-OR) put out a statement criticizing the bill. Wyden Statement Budget Committee Press Release Bill Text

Introduced Legislation –

  • On January 17, Reps. Bonamici (D-OR), Joyce (R-OH), Kiggans (R-VA), and Underwood (D-IL) introduced (H.R. 7002), which would provide for a wage differential program to support new nursing school faculty members. Sens. Durbin (D-IL) and Murkowski (R-AK) introduced companion legislation in the Senate (S. 2815) in September. Press Release
  • Also on January 17, Reps. Hudson (R-NC), Calvert (R-CA), and Guthrie (R-KY) introduced the Protect Medicaid Act (H.R. 7014), which would prohibit Federal Medicaid funding for the administrative costs of providing health benefits to individuals who are unauthorized immigrants. Bill Text Press Release