What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings/Markups –

  • Wednesday, June 7
    • Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, “Examining the Veterans Choice Program and the Future of Care in the Community.”
    • House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, “Overcoming PTSD: Assessing VA’s Efforts to Promote Wellness and Healing.”
    • House Ways & Means Committee, Subcommittee on Health, “Promoting Integrated and Coordinated Care for Medicare Beneficiaries.”
  • Thursday, June 8
    • Senate Finance Committee, “The President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request.”
    • House Ways & Means Committee, “Hearing on the President’s Health and Human Services’ Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request.”
    • House Energy & Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, “Examining the Role of the Department of Health and Human Services in Health Care Cybersecurity.”

 Notable Policy Events –

  • Tuesday, June 6
  • Wednesday, June 7
    • Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), “Preparing Health Care Providers for Obesity Care.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2sbfWCV
    • The Atlantic, “The Next Drugs: An Atlantic Policy Update on Biosimilars.” Additional information: http://theatln.tc/2rFXUvr
    • American Enterprise Institute, “Deaths of Despair: Opioid Community, and the Economy” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2rG8XES
  • Friday, June 9
    • HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), “ONC Direct Exchange Workshop.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2rBeqwS

 Weekly Wrap Up: Notable Health Care Developments From Last Week

 ACA Implementation –

  • On June 1, CMS released guidance providing an enforcement safe harbor for product discontinuation notices in connection with the upcoming 2018 open enrollment period for the individual market. Guidance: http://go.cms.gov/2qO8Lia

Medicare –

  • On May 30, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on Medicare Advantage, recommending that CMS use data on disenrollment and beneficiary health status to strengthen oversight. Report: http://bit.ly/2rZ8sWq
  • Also on May 30, CMS announced a new fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help combat identity theft. Press release: http://go.cms.gov/2r894rC
  • On June 2, CMS released a fact sheet on its methodology for predicting qualifying advanced payment (APM) model participants. Fact sheet: http://bit.ly/2qRdpAX

 Health IT –

  • On May 31, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced the Phase 3 – and final – winners of the Move Health Data Forward Challenge. Press release: http://bit.ly/2rvPcio Blog post: http://bit.ly/2qOoj5v
  • On June 1, Sens. Warren (D-MA) and Grassley (R-IA) submitted comments to the Accredited Standards Committee X12 in support of an update to include the unique device identifier of medical devices on health insurance claims forms. Press release: http://bit.ly/2qNROUQ Letter: http://bit.ly/2qOhXTx
  • On June 2, HHS released a report to Congress on “Improving Cybersecurity in the Health Care Industry,” which identifies threats affecting the health care industry and makes recommendations for implementation. Report: http://bit.ly/2qUyWUk

 Veterans Health –

  • On June 2, VA announced the launch of the “Seek to Prevent Fraud, Waste and Abuse (STOP FWA” initiative, which will capitalize on existing departmental activities that prevent or identify FWA and will ensure a consistent approach to risk management. Press release: http://bit.ly/2qOPtJs
  • Also on June 2, VA announced the launch of a new online tool intended to help Veterans compare various treatment options for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Press release: http://bit.ly/2qONTai

 Mental Health and Substance Abuse –

  • On May 31, HHS announced the availability of over $70 million over multiple years to help communities and healthcare providers prevent opioid overdose deaths and provide treatment for opioids use disorder, of which $28 million will be dedicated for medication-assisted treatment. Application deadlines differ depending on the grant opportunity. Press release: http://bit.ly/2rgxAGS SAMHSA 2017 Grant Announcements: http://bit.ly/2qO5lfe

 Misc. –

  • On May 30, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a toolkit on supply chain security for medical products. Press release: http://bit.ly/2qOmDZz Toolkit: http://bit.ly/2qOnutm
  • On May 31, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a new report finding that 3.3 percent of all Americans aged 12 or older (8.7 million people) used some form of smokeless tobacco in the past month. Press release: http://bit.ly/2qFSdK2
  • Also on May 31, Rep. Cramer (R-ND) led a bipartisan group of 183 Representatives in a letter to HHS Secretary Price expressing concern that a 2014 CMS rule restricting third-party payments to help subsidize insurance premiums has had detrimental effects on patients. Press release: http://bit.ly/2qO3hnn Letter: http://bit.ly/2qOeNz3
  • Also on May 31, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Grassley (R-IA) announced that he had received an estimate from the HHS OIG that taxpayers may have overpaid for EpiPen by as much as $1.27 billion from 2006 through 2016. Press release: http://bit.ly/2qOiC7t
  • On June 1, HHS Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG) released its June semi-annual Report to Congress, which covers OIG activities from October 2016 through March 2017. Report: http://bit.ly/2qObHLK
  • Also on June 1, House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Walden (R-OR), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Murphy (R-PA) and Subcommittee on Health Chair Burgess (R-TX) sent a letter to HHS Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) about the 340B program, citing concerns with the program’s “rapid growth without additional and proportional oversight” and requesting audit documents. Press release: http://bit.ly/2qOjb18 Letter: http://bit.ly/2qOlwcE