What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings, Markups, and Roundtables

  • Wednesday, January 25
    • House Energy & Commerce Committee, “A Roundtable on Big Tech and the Fentanyl Poisoning Crisis.” Additional information

Notable Policy Events –

  • Monday, January 23 to Friday, January 27 – Health Care Value Week
  • Monday, January 23 to Tuesday, January 24
  • Monday, January 23
    • Bipartisan Policy Center, “Building Supply, Quality & Equity: Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.” Additional information
    • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “988: It is NOT just a number – Webinar #2.” Additional information
  • Tuesday, January 24
  • Wednesday, January 25
    • Alliance for Health Policy, “What’s Coming in 2023? Health Policy Priorities for the New Year.” Additional information
    • International City/County Management Association, “How Can the New Congressional District Health Dashboard Fuel Policy Efforts to Improve Health?” Additional information
    • White House, “Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health Monthly Update.” Additional information
    • White House, “Health Community Engagement Call.” Additional information
  • Wednesday, January 25 to Saturday, January 28
  • Thursday, January 26 to Friday, January 27
    • Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), “January 2023 Public Meeting.” Additional information
  • Thursday, January 26
  • Friday, January 27
    • American Enterprise Institute, “The Inflation Reduction Act: Implications for Private-Sector Initiatives.” Additional information

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

Medicare & Medicaid–

  • On January 17, CMS released its quarterly Medicaid and CHIP Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) application processing time snapshot report, reflecting activities from April-June 2022. Report
  • Also on January 17, CMS announced it is conducting field testing of five episode-based cost measures for consideration of potential use in the cost performance category of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) of the Quality Payment Program (QPP). The public is invited to provide feedback on the draft measure specifications through February 14. Survey
  • On January 18, CMS announced new actions to reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications and to bring greater transparency about nursing home citations to families. Press Release
  • Also on January 18, CMS published the 2019 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) Cost Supplement Public Use File (PUF). MCBS PUF
  • On January 19, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report which found more than 1,000 nursing homes reached COVID-19 infection rates of 75 percent or more in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Report in Brief Report
  • Also on January 19, CMS released a Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) Informational Bulletin with the updated 2023 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) Standards. Bulletin

Payment & Delivery System Models –

  • On January 17, CMS announced that more than 700,000 health care providers and organizations, serving more than 13.2 million Medicare beneficiaries, will participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), ACO REACH model, and the Kidney Care Choices (KCC) Model in 2023. Additionally, CMS released participant information for the ACO REACH and KCC models. Press Release MSSP Fact Sheet ACO REACH Participants KCC Model Participants
  • On January 18, CMS published a downloadable resource, “First Performance Year Quick Guide,” to provide home health agencies with a review of what to expect in the first performance year of the expanded Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model. Resource

Public Health Prevention, Surveillance & Data –

  • COVID-19 Data: To date, there are 95,412,766 total COVID-19 cases and 1,047,741 COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Also, 834,376,095 COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered and 612,781,120 individual COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. Data
  • FDA Action Update: To date, FDA has authorized 438 tests under Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs), including 301 molecular tests, 85 antibody tests and 51 antigen tests. FDA also continues to update COVID-19 FAQs.
  • On January 18, CDC released a notice for comment on a proposed information collection project around requirements for a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation pre-departure for passengers traveling to the U.S. from China. The purpose is to protect the U.S. population from potential importation, transmission, and spread of new COVID-19 variants. Comments are due March 20, 2023. Notice
  • Also on January 18, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report with recommendations for how HHS could improve oversight of research involving enhanced potential pandemic pathogens, also referred to as “gain-of-function” research. Report in Brief Report
  • On January 19, HHS OIG released a report which found that the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response’s (ASPR’s) oversight of the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) could be improved to ensure that crisis standards of care comply with Federal nondiscrimination laws. Report in Brief Report
  • On January 20, the FDA released a notice announcing the issuance of Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for certain medical devices related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Notice
  • Also on January 20, the FDA released draft guidance for industry, titled “Mpox: Development of Drugs and Biological Products,” to support sponsors in their development of drugs for mpox. The guidance provides nonclinical, virology, and clinical considerations for mpox drug development programs, with a focus on recommendations to support initiation of clinical trials. Notice Guidance

Health IT, Privacy, & Digital Health

  • On January 19, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) published a blog on the work of the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) in 2022 and planned work for the HITAC in 2023. Blog
  • Also on January 19, ONC published a blog on the growing use of health IT to address the opioid epidemic. Specifically, the blog outlines how clinicians’ use of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) technology can improve opioid prescribing practices, treatment decisions, and support safe and effective patient care. Blog
  • Also on January 19, GAO released the first in a series of four reports that lay out the main cybersecurity areas the federal government should address, beginning with the need for a comprehensive strategy and effective oversight. Report in Brief Report
  • On January 20, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) All of Us Research Program released a new funding opportunity seeking technology and research services partners to help develop the program’s future participant experience. Press Release Funding Opportunity

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Policy –

  • On January 17, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a guide, which highlights strategies for behavioral health and housing providers to expand access to and use of behavioral health services for people at risk for or experiencing homelessness. Guide Guide Overview
  • Also on January 17, SAMHSA announced that Monica Johnson will serve as the new Director of SAMHSA’s 988 & Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinating Office. Press Release
  • On January 18, SAMHSA applauded the provisions included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which included the expansion of access to medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD). Press Release
  • Also on January 18, SAMHSA released a statement that highlighted findings from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which found that Black, Hispanic, Latino, and Asian adults were less likely to receive mental health services than White and Multiracial adults. SAMHSA pledged to continue working to expand services and supports so that all individuals, families and communities can have equal opportunity to pursue recovery. Statement
  • Also on January 18, CDC released a report which provides more recent changes in rates and percentages of opioids prescribed to adults (aged 18 and over) at discharge from the emergency department by patient and visit characteristics through 2020, using data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). Report
  • Also on January 18, HHS OIG released three independent attestation reviews for fiscal year (FY) 2022 Detailed Accounting Submission and Budget Formulation Compliance Reports for National Drug Control Activities and accompanying required assertions for the NIH, CDC, and FDA. NIH Review CDC Review FDA Review
  • On January 20, the NIH and CDC published a joint study, finding the proportion of opioid overdose deaths involving buprenorphine did not increase in the months after prescribing flexibilities were put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Press Release Study
  • Also on January 20, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded a series of grants – $12.5 million across five grantees in California, $5 million across two grantees in New York, and $7.5 million across three grantees in Texas – through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to help primary care physicians meet families’ mental health needs. CA Press Release NY Press Release TX Press Release

Prescription Drugs, Medical Devices, and Biomedical Research –

  • On January 18, House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Member Pallone (D-NJ) wrote to FDA Administrator Califf and NIH Acting Director Tabak on concerns over the lack of compliance by medical product sponsors to report clinical trial results information to the ClinicalTrials.gov database. Press Release Letter
  • On January 19, the FDA announced an opportunity to submit comments on the information collections associated with the Adverse Event Program for Medical Devices (Medical Program Safety Network (MedSun)). Comments are due March 20, 2023. Notice
  • On January 20, FDA issued an immediately-in-effect guidance on compounding certain ibuprofen products in an effort to improve the supply of ibuprofen oral suspension products amid record high demand. Press Release Guidance
  • Also on January 20, FDA issued a final rule amending radiological health regulations to better protect the public health against harmful exposure to radiation emitting electronic products and medical devices. Final Rule

Veterans Health and Military Health  –

  • On January 17, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the appointment of several key leaders in recent months who will help the VA serve Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors. Press Release
  • Also on January 17, the VA OIG released a report that assessed allegations at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center regarding the training and references of an interventional cardiologist. Five recommendations were made related to credentialing, mentoring, professional practice evaluations, and procedure volume. Report in Brief Report
  • On January 18, the VA OIG released a report on an information security inspection at the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics. The VA OIG found deficiencies with configuration management, security management, and access controls. Report in Brief Report
  • Also on January 18, the VA OIG released a report on an information security inspection at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center in Alabama. The VA OIG found deficiencies with configuration management, security management, and access controls. Report in Brief Report
  • On January 19, the VA OIG released a report on aspects of the quality of care delivered at four vet centers in Ohio and Indiana. This review focused on: leadership and organizational risks; quality reviews; suicide prevention; consultation, supervision, and training; and environment of care. Report in Brief Report
  • Also on January 19, GAO released a report recommending the VA to further collaborate with veterans organizations in identifying and addressing outreach gaps, and assessing Solid Start outreach strategies for hard-to-reach groups of veterans. Report in Brief Report
  • Also on January 19, the VA OIG released a report on an inspection to assess allegations and concerns related to quality client care and leadership at the South Bend Vet Center in Indiana. The OIG made three recommendations related to adverse events, intern oversight, and state licensing boards. Report in Brief Report

Health Systems, Population & Public Health, & Health Equity –

  • On January 17, the White House released its National Strategy to Advance Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities. Strategy Fact Sheet
  • On January 18, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released a notice on a proposed project, “Supporting and Evaluating the Dissemination and Implementation of Patient Centered Outcomes Research to Improve Non-Surgical Treatment of Urinary Incontinence Among Women in Primary Care.” Comments are due on February 17, 2023. Notice
  • Also on January 18, the White House highlighted efforts to support community schools by leveraging local non-profit, private sector, and public partnerships to bring wraparound services into school buildings, such as mental health supports, dental services, and assistance with shelter and nutrition. The White House also included a toolkit on federal resources to support community schools. Fact Sheet Toolkit
  • Also on January 18, CDC issued a final rule adding all types of uterine cancer to the List of World Trade Center (WTC)-Related Health Conditions. Press Release Final Rule
  • On January 19, HHS released a notice providing an update of the HHS poverty guidelines to account for last calendar year’s increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Notice
  • Also on January 19, HHS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the appointment of 20 scientists to serve on the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Dietary Guidelines serve as the foundation for national nutrition programs, standards, and education. Press Release Dietary Guidelines Webpage
  • Also on January 19, HHS released a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the child care industry and workforce. Report
  • Also on January 19, HHS Secretary Becerra swore in Rebecca Jones Gaston as commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) within HHS. Press Release
  • Also on January 19, CDC released a report on food insecurity during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Report

Reproductive & Maternal Health –

  • On January 19, HHS released a report outlining the actions HHS has taken in the face of the health crisis precipitated by the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade. Press Release Report
  • On January 20, CDC released a report finding that the birth rate for females aged 15–19 years declined from a 1991 peak of 61.8 per 1,000 females to a record low of 13.9 in 2021. Report
  • Also on January 20, President Biden issued a proclamation on the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, in tandem with the White House holding a meeting with state legislative leaders on reproductive rights. Meeting Readout Proclamation
  • On January 22, President Biden released a statement on the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision in support of a woman’s right to choose. Statement
  • Also on January 22, President Biden released a memorandum and fact sheet announcing further actions to protect access to reproductive health care services, including through protecting legal access to medication abortion and safeguarding patient safety and security. Memorandum Fact Sheet

Misc. –

  • On January 18, HRSA submitted an Information Collection Request (ICR) on the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program (LRP) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. Notice
  • Also on January 18, CDC released a National Health Statistics Report on estimates of people living in families having problems paying medical bills. Report

Legislative Activity –

Votes and Committee Activity –

  • On January 16, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Granger (R-TX) announced the slate of the Committee’s subcommittee chairs for the 118th Congress. In addition, Chairwoman Granger announced that Rep. Cole (R-OK) will serve as the Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee during the 118th Congress. Press release
  • On January 18, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman Comer (R-KY) announced the committee’s Republican members for the 118th Congress. Announcement

Introduced Legislation –

  • On January 17, Rep. Fischbach (R-MN) and 53 cosponsors introduced the Defund Planned Parenthood Act (H.R. 371), which would provide for a moratorium on Federal funding to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. Press release
  • Also on January 17, Rep. Fischbach (R-MN) and 37 cosponsors introduced the Protecting Life and Taxpayers Act (H.R. 372), which would prohibit Federal funding to entities that do not certify the entities will not perform, or provide any funding to any other entity that performs, an abortion. Press release
  • Also on January 17, Reps. Good (R-VA), McClintock (R-CA), and Miller (R-IL) introduced the Federal Student Loan Integrity Act (H.R. 380), which would prohibit abuse of the authority of the Secretary of Education under the HEROES Act in connection with the COVID-19 national emergency declaration. Press release
  • Also on January 17, Rep. Guthrie (R-KY) and 14 cosponsors introduced the Pandemic is Over Act (H.R. 382), which would terminate the public health emergency declared with respect to COVID-19. Bill text Press release
  • Also on January 17, Rep. Harshbarger (R-TN) and 13 cosponsors introduced legislation (H.R. 383), which would nullify the modifications made by the Food and Drug Administration in January 2023 to the risk evaluation and mitigation strategy REMS for the abortion pill Mifepristone. Press release