Health Care Week in Review June 21, 2019

Alston & Bird Health Care Week in Review, June 21, 2019

Below is Alston & Bird’s Health Care Week in Review, which provides a synopsis of the latest news in healthcare regulations, notices, and guidance; federal legislation and congressional committee action; reports, studies, and analyses; and other health policy news.

I. Regulations, Notices, & Guidance

Event Notices   

  • July 9, 2019: HHS announced a public meeting entitled, Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) will be holding its 64th full Council meeting in Jackson, Mississippi. Members will hear a panel presentation regarding Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America and will discuss possible recommendations regarding programs, policies, and research to promote effective prevention, treatment, and cure of HIV disease and AIDS.  
  • September 17, 2019: The FDA announced a public hearing entitled, Standards for Future Opioid Analgesic Approvals and Incentives for New Therapeutics to Treat Pain and Addiction. The hearing is intended to receive stakeholder input on the approval process for new opioids and how FDA might best consider the existing armamentarium of therapies, among other factors, in reviewing applications for new opioids to treat pain.

II. Congressional Legislation & Committee Action

U.S. Senate

  • On June 18, 2019, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing entitled, Lower Health Care Costs Act. Witnesses present included: Sean Cavanaugh, Chief Administrative Officer, Aledade; Benedic N. Ippolito, Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Elizabeth Mitchell, President and Chief Executive, Pacific Business Group on Health; Tom Nickels, Executive Vice President, American Hospital Association; Frederick Isasi, Executive Director, Families USA; and Marilyn Bartlett, Special Projects Coordinator for the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Office of the Montana State Auditor.
  • On June 19, 2019, Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing entitled, The Complex Web of Prescription Drug Prices, Part III: Examining Agency Efforts to Further Competition and Increase Affordability. Witnesses present included: Demetrios Kouzoukas, Principal Deputy Administrator & Director of the Center for Medicare, CMS; Janet Woodcock, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA; and Vicki L. Robinson, Senior Counselor for Policy, HHS, Office of Inspector General (OIG).

House of Representatives

  • On June 19, 2019, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held hearing entitled, Medical Experts: Inadequate Federal Approach to Opioid Treatment and the Need to Expand Care. Witnesses present included: Dr. Susan R Bailey, President-elect, American Medical Association; Dr. Arthur C. Evans, CEO/Executive Vice President, American Psychological Association; Angela Gray BSN, RN, Nurse Director, Berkeley-Morgan County Board of Health, WV; Dr. Yngvild K. Olsen, Vice President, American Society of Addiction Medicine; Jean Ross RN, President, National Nurses United; and Dr. Nancy K. Young, Executive Director, Children and Family Futures.
  • On June 20, 2019, the House Subcommittee on Government Operations held a hearing entitled, Ensuring Quality Health Care for Our Veterans. Witnesses present included: Ms. Tammy Czarnecki, Assistant Deputy Undersecretary for Health for Administrative Operations, Veterans Health Administration (VHA), on behalf of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); Mr. Michael Heimall, Director, Veteran Affairs Medical Center (Washington, D.C.); and The Honorable Michael Missal, Inspector General, Office of Inspector General (OIG), on behalf of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

III. Reports, Studies, & Analyses

  • On June 20, 2019, the Kaiser Family Foundation issued a brief on a study entitled, An Examination of Surprise Medical Bills and Proposals to Protect Consumers from Them. The study used claims data from large employer plans to estimate the incidence of out-of-network charges associated with hospital stays and emergency visits that could result in a surprise bill. Researchers also examined state and federal policies aimed at addressing the incidence of surprise billing.

IV. Other Health Policy News

  • On June 20, 2019, CMS issued renewed guidance to state Medicaid agencies that outlined the necessary assurances that states should make to ensure that program resources are reserved for those who meet eligibility requirements. The guidance is available here.
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