What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings and Markups –

  • Wednesday, November 8
    • Senate Finance Committee, “Committee Markup.” Additional Information
    • Senate HELP Committee, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security, “Avoiding a Cautionary Tale: Policy Considerations for Artificial Intelligence in Health Care.” Additional Information
  • Friday, November 10
    • Senate Special Committee on Aging, “Issues Facing Veterans: Access to Care, Services, and Economic Opportunity.” Additional Information

Notable Policy Events – 

  • Tuesday, November 7
    • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, “Substance Use Disorder Education and Training: Improving Access to Treatment.” Additional Information – Virtual, Free
    • Horizon, “Prescription Drug Policy Beyond Medicare: How Far Will States Go?” Additional Information, – Virtual, Free
    • Johns Hopkins University, “Health Policy Forum: A Conversation with Tom Polen, Chairman, CEO, and President of Becton, Dickinson and Company.” Additional Information – Virtual, Free
  • Wednesday, November 8
    • Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “Health Solutions Summit.” Additional Information – In-Person, Washington, DC, Free
    • Washington Post, “Chasing Cancer: The Path Forward.” Additional Information – Virtual, Free
  • Thursday, November 9
    • The Atlantic, “People v. Cancer 2023.” Additional Information – In-Person, New York, NY or Virtual, Free
    • CMS, “Improving Access to Health Care Coverage in Rural Communities with Medicaid and CHIP.” Additional Information – Virtual, Free
    • Punchbowl News, “Pop-Up Conversation with Sen. Moore Capito on the Opioid Crisis.” Additional Information – In-person, Washington, DC or Virtual, Free
    • R Street Institute, “Is Over the Counter Enough? Getting Naloxone to the People Who Need It Most.” Additional Information – Virtual, Free

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

Medicare & Medicaid –

  • On October 30, House Energy and Commerce Chair Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Griffith (R-VA), on sent a letter to HHS Office of Inspector General (IG) Grimm and CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure regarding improper Medicaid payments. Press Release Letter
  • On October 31, CMS released the latest enrollment figures for Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. As of July 2023, 66,208,231 people are enrolled in Medicare and 91,521,722 people are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. Enrollment Figures
  • Also on October 31, House Energy and Commerce Chair Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Griffith (R-VA) sent letters to CMS and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) raising concerns regarding budget neutrality in parts of the Medicaid program. Press Release Letter
  • On November 1, House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Pallone (D-NJ) and House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Neal (D-MA) sent a letter to CMS Administer Brooks-LaSure urging increased oversight and transparency of broker participation in Medicare Advantage. Press Release Letter
  • Also on November 1, CMS released the Home Health Prospective Payment System Final Rule, finalizing a 0.8 percent increase for CY2024. Rule Fact Sheet
  • Also on November 1, Senate Finance Committee Republicans sent a letter to CMS Administer Brooks-LaSure expressing concerns over proposed changes to the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. Press Release Letter
  • On November 2, CMS released the CY 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule. The rule updates payment rates and finalizes policy changes effective January 1, 2024. Overall, the finalized CY 2024 PFS conversion factor is $32.74, a decrease of $1.15, or 3.4%, from CY 2023. Press Release Fact Sheet Health Equity Press Release MSSP Fact Sheet Final Rule
  • Also on November 2, CMS released the CY 2024 Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System Final Rule. CMS is finalizing OPPS payment rates for hospitals and ASCs that meet applicable quality reporting requirements by 3.1%. Fact Sheet Final Rule 
  • Also on November 2, CMS released a final rule to remedy 340B-acquired drug payment rates the Supreme Court held were invalid between 2018-2022. Fact Sheet Final Rule

Public Health Prevention, Preparedness, & Surveillance – On October 30, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report which found that HHS’s oversight of automatic provider relief payments were generally effective, but improvements could be made. Press Release Report

Health IT, Privacy, & Digital Health – 

  • On October 30, President Biden released an Executive Order (EO) on AI that builds on foundational principles laid out in the Administration’s Fall 2022 Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights. This EO includes many major implications for federal health care programs in addition to companies using AI for health care or public health purposes. Executive Order Fact Sheet
  • Also on October 30, HHS released a proposed rule that would establish disincentives for health care providers found by the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) to have committed information blocking. Comments are due January 2, 2024. Press Release Proposed Rule Fact Sheet
  • Also on October 30, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) published a blog on HHS’ proposed rule to hold certain health care providers accountable for information blocking under the 21st Century Cures. Blog 
  • On November 1, Vice President Harris, as part of her visit to the United Kingdom to attend the Global Summit on AI Safety, announced a series of new initiatives to advance the safe and responsible use of AI. Fact Sheet
  • Also on November 1, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a draft memorandum to executive agency heads for the use of AI within their departments, including AI outputs that could impact access to critical resources or services, such as healthcare. Draft Memo
  • On November 3, ONC released the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) version 1.1 (v1.1). ONC also released a one-pager on changes made to the Common Agreement in v1.1. These include technical and clarifying changes throughout the Common Agreement and do not affect TEFCA flow down requirements. TEFCA v1.1 One-Pager
  • Also on November 3, ONC published a blog on its release of TEFCA v1.1 and stated that TEFCA version 2 (v2) will be released by the end of Spring 2024. Blog

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Policy – On November 2, SAMHSA announced Homeless Awareness Month, when SAMHSA works in partnership with federal, state and local partners and national experts to provide training on housing, treatment and recovery models focused on adults, children, and families who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have serious mental illness and/or serious emotional disturbance, and substance use. Press Release

Prescription Drugs, Medical Devices, Biomedical Research, & Health Innovation –

  • On November 1, FDA announced the renewal of the Patient Engagement Advisory Committee for an additional two years beyond the charter expiration date. The new charter will be in effect until the October 6, 2025, expiration date. The Committee provides advice on complex scientific issues relating to medical devices, the regulation of devices, and their use by patients. Announcement
  • Also on November 1, FDA issued a notice requesting that any industry organizations interested in participating in the selection of nonvoting industry representatives to serve on panels of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee in the Center for Devices and Radiological Health notify FDA in writing by December 1, 2023. Notice
  • On November 3, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chair Comer (R-KY) and Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services Chair McClain (R-MI) sent a letter to Commissioner Califf, calling on the FDA to provide information to understand the FDA’s response to a growing number of drug shortages. Press Release Letter

Veterans Health and Military Health – On October 31, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tech Sprint encouraging innovators across America to create AI-enabled tools to reduce burnout among health care workers. The winning solutions will help clinicians take notes during medical appointments and/or integrate patients’ medical records, with the winning teams receiving $1 million in total prizes. Press Release

SDOH & Health Equity –

  • On October 31, HHS launched a new effort entitled “Take Action for Adolescents: A Call to Action for Adolescent Health and Well-Being” to promote collaboration and spur action to improve the health and well-being of adolescents across the U.S. Press Release Website
  • On November 2, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) announced a new program to help increase states’ access to housing-related services and supports. ACL Press Release HHS Press Release Program Page

Health Systems & Health Care Workforce –

  • On October 30, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Crapo (R-ID), House Ways and Means Chair Smith (R-MO) and House Energy and Commerce Chair Rodgers (R-WA) sent a letter to Secretary Becerra and Administrator Brooks-LaSure urging CMS withdraw the minimum nurse staffing standards proposed rule. Press Release Letter
  • On October 31, CDC announced a new campaign, Impact Wellbeing, which will provide hospital leaders with resources to improve workplace policies and practices that reduce burnout, normalize help-seeking, and strengthen professional wellbeing. Press Release
  • On November 3, HHS announced new efforts to improve the health of rural communities and help rural health care providers stay open. The actions will work to increase access to affordable health coverage and care in rural communities, bolster the health care workforce, and support access to care, including behavioral health and through telehealth services. Press Release

Legislative Activity 
Introduced Legislation –

  • On October 30, Reps. Nunn (R-IA), Titus (D-NV), and Lee (D-NV) introduced the Train More Nurses Act (H.R. 6122), which would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Labor to conduct a study and issue a report on grant programs to support the nursing workforce. Bill Text Press Release.
  • On October 31, Sen. Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Reducing Obesity in Youth Act (S. 3171), which would promote healthy eating and physical activity among children. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on October 31, Sen. Cramer (R-ND) introduced S. 3172, which would include certain over-the-counter dietary supplement products and foods for special dietary uses as qualified medical expenses. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on November 1, Reps. Molinaro (R-NY), Pettersen (D-CO), LaHood (R-IL), Carey (R-OH), Trone (D-MD), and Pappas (D-NH) introduced the Supporting Access to Vital and Affordable Care for Everyone (SAVE) Act (H.R. 6161), which would allow amounts paid for over-the-counter naloxone to be taken into account in determining the deduction for medical expenses. Press Release
  • Also on November 1, Sens. Kaine (D-VA) and Padilla (D-CA) introduced the Expanding Medical Education Act (S. 3175), which would establish a grant program to support schools of medicine and schools of osteopathic medicine in underserved areas. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on November 1, Sen. Whitehouse (D-RI) and 11 bipartisan cosponsors introduced the Telehealth Response for E-prescribing Addiction Therapy Services (TREATS) Act (S. 3193), which would allow for the use of telehealth in substance use disorder treatment. Press Release
  • On November 2, Sens. Warner (D-VA), Young (R-IN), Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Thune (R-SD) introduced the Employer Reporting Improvement Act (S. 3204), which would streamline and improve the employer reporting process relating to health insurance coverage and to protect dependent privacy. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on November 2, Sens. Moran (R-KS) and Warner (D-VA) introduced the Federal Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Act (S. 3205), which would require Federal agencies to use the Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology with respect to the use of artificial intelligence. One-Pager Press Release
  • Also on November 2, Sens. Bennet (D-CO) and Lummis (R-WY) introduced S. 3206, which would provide for a study on the accessibility of substance use disorder treatment and mental health care providers and services for farmers and ranchers. Bill Text One Pager Press Release
  • Also on November 2, Sens. Baldwin (D-WI), Klobuchar (D-MN), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Smith (D-MN) introduced the Protecting America from Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Act of 2023 (S. 3219), which would protect against seasonal and pandemic influenza. Bill Text One Pager Press Release