The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for March 6-10.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

White House FY 2024 Budget Proposal

The Biden administration this week released its proposed FY 2024 federal budget.  Among its many proposals are measures to extend the life of the Medicare hospital trust fund and reduce Medicare beneficiaries’ health care costs; to reduce prescription drug costs for consumers, Medicare, and Medicaid; to return high Medicaid managed care organization profits to the federal government; to make behavioral health care more affordable for seniors; to expand the health care workforce; to improve access to care in rural areas and among underserved communities; to improve HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C prevention and treatment for Medicaid participants; and more.  Learn more about the health care aspects of the administration’s budget proposal from this White House fact sheet on its Medicare proposal; additional White House fact sheets; this HHS news release outlining the budget’s health care highlights; and the budget document itself, where the Department of Health and Human Services section begins on page 75.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has posted anticipated 2023 state time-frames for initiating Medicaid unwinding-related eligibility renewals.  The document lists the month each state anticipates initiating unwinding-related renewals and the month each state expects to begin terminating the eligibility of some current Medicaid participants.   Find that updated list here.
  • CMS has published a request for applications for Medicare-enrolled providers, suppliers, and Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) to join its Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI Advanced) Model on January 1, 2024.  To be eligible for participation, new convener applicants must be Medicare-enrolled entities or Medicare ACOs.  Organizations that participated in the model in previous years may apply as well.  For further information, visit CMS’s BPCI Advanced Model web page; this web page of applicant resources; and the request for applications.  The deadline for applications is May 31.
  • CMS has posted the latest edition of MLN Connects, its online newsletter with information about Medicare payment matters.  This issue includes information on revised guidance for use of the 340B modifier for Medicare Part B inflation rebates; an update of the Medicare physician fee schedule database; extension of changes to the low-volume hospital payment adjustment and the Medicare Dependent Hospital Program; and more.  Find the new MLN Connects here.
  • CMS has sent a memo to state Medicaid directors to provide guidance on two new third-party liability requirements reflected in current law.  The first new provision was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 and increases state flexibility on third-party liability by requiring states to have laws in effect that bar liable third-party payers from refusing payment for an item or service solely on the basis that such item or service did not receive prior authorization under the third-party payer’s rules.  The second change in third-party liability requirements came with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Gallardo v. Marstiller that the Social Security Act permits a state to create a lien over injury settlement proceeds attributable to future medical expenses.  Find the CMS letter here.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • HHS’s Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response has released “Health Care and Public Health Sector Cybersecurity Framework Implementation Guide,” which seeks to help health care organizations understand and leverage federal expertise in their implementation of cybersecurity and cyber risk management programs, ensure alignment with national standards, help organizations assess and improve their level of cyber resiliency, and provide suggestions on how to link cybersecurity with their overall information security and privacy risk management activities.  Find the guide here.
  • HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is seeking nominations of candidates for appointment as members of the Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry, which  advises and makes recommendations to the Secretary of HHS on policy, program development, and other matters of significance concerning the medicine and dentistry activities authorized under the Public Health Service Act.  Learn more about the committee, the specific backgrounds it seeks among prospective members, the commitment expected from members, and how to apply from this HRSA announcement, which includes a link to a formal Federal Register notice.  Nominations are due by April 30.
  • HRSA is seeking nominations of candidates for consideration for appointment as members of the National Advisory Council on Migrant Health, which advises, consults with, and makes recommendations to the Secretary of HHS concerning the organization, operation, selection, and funding of migrant health centers and other entities.  Learn more about the council, the specific backgrounds it seeks among prospective members, the commitment expected from members, and how to apply from this HRSA announcement, which includes a link to a formal Federal Register notice.  There is no deadline for applying; nominations are welcome at any time.
  • HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research has published its latest weekly newsletter, which includes information about agency activities, research, and upcoming events.  Find it here.

Food and Drug Administration

The FDA has revised and reissued an umbrella emergency use authorization for disposable, single-use surgical masks intended for use in health care settings by health care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The revision authorizes emergency use of only those surgical masks listed in the EUA’s Appendix A as of the date of this reissuance.  Learn more from this FDA announcement and this FDA letter to health care workers, hospital purchasing departments, manufacturers of surgical masks, authorized distributors and importers, and other stakeholders.

Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC)

During their public meeting last week, MedPAC commissioners and staff discussed reforming Medicare’s wage index system; addressing the high prices of drugs covered under Medicare Part B; a prototype design for a post-acute care prospective payment system; favorable selection and future directions for Medicare Advantage payment policy; and aligning fee-for-service payment rates across ambulatory care settings.  To see the presentations for each of these subjects, go here.

Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission

During their public meeting last week, MACPAC commissioners discussed Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) allotments; the process of unwinding Medicaid eligibility; Medicaid full-risk capitation; Medicaid managed care external quality review; proposed CMS rules on disclosure of nursing facility ownership; and more.  To see the presentations for each of these subjects and find a summary and transcript of the meeting, go here.

Stakeholder Events

CMS – Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System CY 2023 Webinar – March 29

CMS will hold a webinar on Medicare’s calendar year 2023 home health prospective payment system on Wednesday, March 29 at 1:30 (eastern).  During this webinar CMS will provide an overview of several provisions from the CY 2023 home health prospective payment system final rule related to behavior changes, the construction of 60-day episodes, and payment rate development.  Learn more about the webinar here and go here to register to participate.

CMS – Medicare Cost Report e-Filing Webinar – March 30

CMS will hold a webinar for Medicare Part A providers to learn about new and upcoming functionality in the Medicare cost report e-filing system on Thursday, March 30 at 1:00 (eastern).  Go here to register to participate.

CMS – Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model and its Hospice Benefit Component – April 11

CMS will host an office hours session on Tuesday, April 11 at 3:00 (eastern) to discuss the Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model and its hospice benefit component.  Participants will receive an overview of the model and the CY 2024 application process and have an opportunity to ask questions of CMS officials about the model.  Go here to register to participate.

CMS Quality Conference – May 1-3

The 2023 CMS Quality Conference, “Building Resilient Communities:  Having an Equitable Foundation for Quality Health Care,” will be held virtually on Monday, May 1 through Wednesday, May 3.  The conference will feature expert speakers who will address improving quality, equity, and innovation and discuss how advocates, providers, researchers, and champions in health care quality improvement can develop and spread solutions to address America’s most pervasive health system challenges.  Go here to learn more about the conference and how to register to participate.