What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings/Markups –

  • Tuesday, July 11
    • Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, “Pending Health Care Legislation.”
  • Wednesday, July 12
    • House Energy & Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Battles in the States.”
    • House Energy & Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health, “Examining Medical Product Manufacturer Communications.”
    • Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, “Markup of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018.”
    • House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, “Care Where it Counts: Assessing VA’s Capital Asset Needs.”
  • Thursday, July 13
    • Senate Appropriations Committee, “Full Committee Markup of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018.”
    • House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Health, “Maximizing Access and Resources: An Examination of VA Productivity and Efficiency.”

Notable Policy Events –

  • Tuesday, July 11
    • Bipartisan Policy Center, “Solutions to Long-Term Care Financing in Politically Challenging Times.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2uvuGxq
  • Thursday, July 13
    • Bipartisan Policy Center, “Future of Health Care: Can Increased State Flexibility Balance Innovation, Cost, and Coverage.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2uvuGxq
    • CQ Roll Call, “Fighting the Opioid Crisis.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2uvlvgy


Weekly Wrap Up: Notable Health Care Developments From Last Week

 Administration –

  • On July 7, HHS announced the appointment of Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., as Director of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Press release: http://bit.ly/2sOgjaA

 Legislative Activity –

  • On July 6, Reps. Tiberi (R-OH) and Pascrell (D-NJ) introduced the Medicare Part B Home Infusion Services Temporary Transitional Payment Act (H.R. 3163), which would provide for a home infusion therapy services temporary transitional payment under the Medicare program. Press release: http://bit.ly/2tVsYYn
  • Also on July 6, Reps. Jenkins (R-KS) and Lewis (D-GA) introduced H.R. 3166, which would provide under the Medicare program for independent accreditation for dialysis facilities and assurance of high quality surveys with respect to such facilities. Press release: http://bit.ly/2tqyXUI Bill text: http://bit.ly/2sUSUnE
  • Also on July 6, Reps. Tiberi (R-OH) and Levin (D-MI) introduced H.R. 3168, which would provide continued access to specialized Medicare Advantage plans for special needs individuals. Press release: http://bit.ly/2tqIESX Bill text: http://bit.ly/2sUZbjs

 ACA Repeal and Replacement Activity –

  • On July 6, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) and House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Member Pallone (D-NJ) released a state-by-state analysis of the impacts of eliminating the Public Health and Prevention Fund, as proposed in the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Press release: http://bit.ly/2tW7PhN Report:  http://bit.ly/2tVTRfz
  • Also on July 6, House Minority Leader Pelosi released a blog post which highlights a collection of reports describing how the ACA benefits the U.S. economy and the economic security of American families. Blog post: http://bit.ly/2u0nFb2

Medicare & Medicaid –

  • On July 6, HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) published a study finding that Part D plans in 2017 generally include drugs commonly used by dual eligibles, with some variation. Summary with link to report: http://bit.ly/2sV2iYD
  • Also on July 6, Medicaid and CHIP Payment & Access Commission (MACPAC) released an updated report on design issues in Medicaid per capita caps, which incorporates design choices made under the American Health Care Act and the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Summary with link to report: http://bit.ly/2u0mF6H
  • On July 7, CMS released a final rule delaying the effective date for the Home Health Agencies Conditions of Participation final rule originally published on January 13; the rule delays the effective date from July 13 to January 13 2018. Final rule: http://bit.ly/2sV98ND

 New Payment and Delivery System Reform Models –

  • On July 5, CMS released an updated list of Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Model 2 awardees that are currently eligible to waive the three-day hospital stay requirement for SNF. List: http://bit.ly/2cT8ngl

 Health IT –

  • On July 5, HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced it will host a series of three public stakeholder meetings on the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement in July. Blog post: http://bit.ly/2suHfbf

 Veterans Healthcare –

  • On July 7, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that as a follow-on to the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act it intends to make public a list of adverse employee actions taken since January 20. Press release: http://bit.ly/2tRaA3t

 Mental Health and Substance Abuse –

  • On July 6, CDC published a report finding that the amount of opioids prescribed in the United States peaked in 2010 and then decreased each year through 2015; however opioid prescribing remains at a high level and varies from county to county. Press release: http://bit.ly/2sVt91O Report: http://bit.ly/2sUGPiD

Misc. –

  • On July 5, HHS OIG published a report finding that the readiness of CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile could be at-risk in the case of a public health emergency. Press release: http://bit.ly/2tyxk5G
  • On July 6, CDC published a report finding a slower reduction in cancer death rates in rural America compared with urban America. Press release: http://bit.ly/2uzmqwG
  • On July 7, FDA released an outline for how it plans to spend the $500 million FDA Innovation Account funding that was allocated by the 21st Century Cures Act; $185.2 million will go towards patient access to therapies and information. Blog post: http://bit.ly/2sUVIRO Outline: http://bit.ly/2syNZES