The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 23. Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.
Provider Relief Fund
- HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration has posted new information about planned distributions of additional COVID-19 supplemental funding for health care providers through the Provider Relief Fund and for qualified rural hospitals through funding made available through the American Rescue Plan. Included in the new posting is information about:
- Web events to explain what the agency is doing and what providers must do to pursue funding, to be held on Thursday, September 30 and Tuesday, October 5.
- An application deadline of October 26.
- What providers are eligible for funding.
- Documentation grant applicants will need to submit.
Department of Health and Human Services
- States need to do more to oversee the delivery of behavioral health services via telehealth to Medicaid beneficiaries, HHS’s Office of the Inspector General has concluded. Learn more in the OIG report “Opportunities Exist To Strengthen Evaluation and Oversight of Telehealth for Behavioral Health in Medicaid.”
Health Policy News
- HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has awarded $73 million in cooperative agreement grants as part of its Public Health Informatics & Technology Workforce Development Program to strengthen U.S. public health information technology (IT) efforts, improve COVID-19 data collection, and increase representation of underrepresented communities within the public health IT workforce. Learn more about how the money will be used and find a list of the grant recipients in this HHS news release.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Health Policy News
- CMS has granted exceptions for certain Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs located in areas affected by Hurricane Ida. These exceptions apply to acute-care hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, prospective payment system-exempt cancer hospitals, inpatient psychiatric facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term-care hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and New Jersey. Learn more about the exceptions and the specific geographic areas to which they apply in this CMS notice.
- CMS has published the latest edition of MLN Matters, its online newsletter. The new edition includes articles about various Medicare billing issues, an update of the ambulatory surgical center payment system, and more. Find it all here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has published information to help providers detect, diagnose, and treat cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which has been found to occur in some children diagnosed with COVID-19. Find the information here.
- The CDC has published the underlying rationale for the agency’s full authorization for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for patients 16 years of age and older.
- The CDC has published guidance for clinicians caring for individuals recently evacuated from Afghanistan. Find it here.
Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA has amended its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series in individuals 65 years of age and older; individuals 18 through 64 at high risk of severe COVID-19; and individuals 18 through 64 years whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to COVID-19 puts them at high risk of serious complications from COVID-19. See the FDA announcement and an explanation of the decision here.
MACPAC – September meetings – September 24
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) is holdings its scheduled September meeting of commissioners on Thursday, September 23 and Friday, 24 to discuss federal Medicaid and CHIP policies. The meetings are being be held virtually. Find the meeting agenda here and go here to register to view the sessions.
CDC – Latest CDC Recommendations for Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Vaccination – September 28
The CDC will hold a webinar on Tuesday, September 28 to give clinicians an overview of the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccination. Clinicians will learn about the vaccine booster recommendations, the safety of booster dose, and clinical guidance for using the Pfizer booster vaccine. Go here for more information about the event and to register to participate.
HRSA – New Provider Relief Fund and Rural Hospital Grants – September 30 and October 5
The Health Resources and Services Administration will hold web events on Thursday, September 30 and Tuesday, October 5 for providers interested in pursuing Provider Relief Fund grants and funding for rural hospitals provided through the American Rescue Plan. The purpose of the event is to provide guidance on how to navigate the application portal for seeking these grants. Learn more here and find a link to register to participate.
CDC – Evaluating and Supporting Patients Presenting With Fatigue Following COVID-19 – September 30
The CDC will hold a webinar on evaluating and supporting patients who present with fatigue following treatment for COVID-19. The webinar will be held on Thursday, September 30. For further information on the subjects the webinar will cover, those who will be participating in the event, and how to join the webinar, go here.
FDA – Workshop Addressing Response to the Opioid Crisis – October 13
The FDA will hold a workshop titled “Reconsidering Mandatory Opioid Prescriber Education Through a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS)” to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide input on aspects of the current opioid crisis that could be mitigated in a measurable way by requiring mandatory prescriber education as part of a REMS effort. The public workshop will be held on October 13 and October 14. For information about participating in the workshop or submitting comments or materials, see this Federal Register notice.