Healthcare Week in Review February 24, 2017

Alston & Bird Healthcare Week in Review, February 24, 2017

I. Regulations, Notices, & Guidance

Event Notices
  • March 20 – 21, 2017: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a meeting of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Drug Testing Advisory Board (DTAB). The Board will meet in open session on March 20, 2017, from 9:00am to 2:00pm, to provide updates on the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs, provide data on hair testing programs currently in use in the private sector, research data on marijuana edibles, and the most current data from Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index. The board will meet in closed session on March 20, 2017, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm EDT and on March 21, 2017, from 9:00am to 2:00pm EDT to hear about current confidential practices in the hair testing industry, and to discuss proposals for the Oral Fluid Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.
  • March 22, 2017: CMS announced a meeting of the Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education (APOE). The APOE will discuss Affordable Care Act (ACA) initiatives.

II. Congressional Legislation & Committee Action

U.S. Senate
  • The Senate has adjourned until February 27, 2017.
House of Representatives
  • The House has adjourned until February 27, 2017.
Upcoming Congressional Floor and Committee Action U.S. Senate
  • There are currently no healthcare-related hearings scheduled for next week.
House of Representatives
  • On February 28, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing entitled, Health Care Legislation/Trump’s Financial Documents Inquiry. There will be a markup of H.R.372, the "Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017"; H.R.1215, the "Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017"; and H.Res.111, Resolution of inquiry directing the attorney general to transmit certain documents to the House of Representatives relating to the financial practices of the president. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. in 2141 Rayburn.
  • On March 1, 2017, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on "Legislative Proposals to Improve Health Care Coverage and Provide Lower Costs for Families," including H.R.1101, the "Small Business Health Fairness Act"; the "Self-Insurance Protection Act"; and the "Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act." The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. in 2175 Rayburn.
  • On March 2, 2017, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled, FDA Generic Drug/Biosimilar User Fee Programs. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn. The witnesses are TBD.

III. Reports, Studies, & Analyses

  • None

IV. Other Health Policy News

  • On February 17, 2017, CMS issued an addendum to the 2018 Letter to Issuers in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces. The Addendum to the 2018 Letter to Issuers changes the dates for the qualified health place (QHP) certification timeline by replacing Table 1.1 Timeline for QHP Certification in the FFMs on pages 7-8 of the 2018 Letter to Issuers with the below: Table 1.1(b) Revised Timeline for QHP Certification in the FFMs. The dates in Table 1.1(b) also supersede all other references to corresponding dates within the text of the 2018 Letter to Issuers, as well as any applicable guidance. All other parts of the 2018 Letter to Issuers remain unchanged by this document.
  • On February 23, 2017, CMS issued a Market Saturation and Utilization Data Tool. The data tool was formerly called the Moratoria Provider Services and Utilization Data Tool. The data tool includes interactive maps and a dataset that shows national-, state-, and county-level provider services and utilization data for selected health service areas. Market saturation, in the present context, refers to the density of providers of a particular service within a defined geographic area relative to the number of the beneficiaries receiving that service in the area.
  • On February 23, 2017, CMS issued a bulletin entitled, Extended Transition to Affordable Care Act-Compliant Policies. The bulletin announces that CMS will extend their transitional policy to policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2018, provided that all such policies end by December 31, 2018. Specifically, States may permit issuers that have renewed policies under the transitional policy continually since 20145 to renew such coverage for a policy year starting on or before October 1, 2018; however, any policies renewed under this transitional policy must not extend past December 31, 2018.

V. ACA Repeal News

  • On February 23, 2017, House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) refused to set a hard deadline for when the Affordable Care Act will be scrapped, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
  • On February 24, 2017, a draft GOP bill to repeal the ACA was leaked. Note that the measure is dated February 10, 2017.
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