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Health Policy Update for Thursday, April 1

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 1.

Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payments Program

The White House

COVID-19

Health Policy News

  • The Biden administration has unveiled its proposed “American Jobs Plan.”  A portion of that plan addresses health care provided in the home.  Learn more from the administration’s fact sheet on the plan and the section in it titled “Solidify the Infrastructure of our Care Economy by Creating Jobs and Raising Wages and Benefits for Essential Home Care Workers.”

Provider Relief Fund

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

COVID-19

Health Policy News

  • CMS has posted the latest edition of its online publication MLN Connects, which features information about Medicare policy and reimbursement matters.  The following is its table of contents (with links):

News

Compliance

Claims, Pricers, & Codes

Events

MLN Matters® Articles

Multimedia

Department of Health and Human Services

COVID-19

Health Policy News

  • HHS has posted a presentation from a webinar on lessons learned from recent cybersecurity incidents involving health care providers.  Go here to find the presentation and go here to view the webinar.
  • HHS announced that additional savings and lower health care costs are available for consumers on HealthCare.gov through increased tax credits for health insurance made available through the American Rescue Plan.  See the announcement here and find a link to additional information about newly reduced health insurance premiums here.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19

Food and Drug Administration

COVID-19

  • The FDA has approved an abbreviated new drug application for succinylcholine chloride injection USP 200 mg/10 mL, which is indicated, in addition to general anesthesia, to facilitate tracheal intubation and to provide skeletal muscle relaxation during surgery or mechanical ventilation, such as for COVID-19.  See the FDA’s notice of this approval here.

Federal Communications Commission – Grants

  • The FCC has launched round two of its COVID-19 telehealth program, which was established by the CARES Act “to support efforts of health care providers to address coronavirus by providing telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to enable the provision of telehealth services” during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Round two is funded with $250 million from the American Rescue Plan.  Some aspects of the program have changed.  The application window, which should be announced soon, will be brief.  Learn more from this FCC notice.

Government Accountability Office

COVID-19

Federal Health Policy Update for Friday, March 26

Beginning this week, NASH is expanding its regular updates to encompass a broader scope of federal health policy endeavors to include other matters of importance to providers.  Feel free to share this newsletter with others in your organization or to send us the email addresses of those you think might be interested and we will send it directly to them.

The following is the latest such information from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Friday, March 26.

NASH Advocacy

The Senate voted 90-2 to extend the moratorium on the two percent sequester of Medicare payments through the end of 2021.  The House will take up the bill when it returns to Washington, DC in mid-April.  The current moratorium will expire on March 31, but CMS is expected to use its authority to hold Medicare payments for up to 14 days to give the House time to pass the legislation.  NASH sent a thank you note to all 90 senators who voted for the bill.

The White House

COVID-19

Department of Health and Human Services

COVID-19

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

COVID-19

Health Policy News

  • CMS has posted the latest edition of MLN Connects, its online publication with the latest information about Medicare reimbursement policy.  The following is the table of contents of the March 25 edition, with links to the individual articles:

News

Compliance

Claims, Pricers, & Codes

MLN Matters® Articles

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19

Food and Drug Administration

COVID-19

  • The FDA announced that “Given the sustained increase in [COVID-19] viral variants in the United States that are resistant to bamlanivimab administered alone, and the availability of other authorized monoclonal antibody therapies that are expected to retain activity to these variants, the U.S. Government, in coordination with Eli Lilly and Company, will stop the distribution of bamlanivimab alone starting today, March 24, 2021.”  Using the other monoclonal antibody therapies, the FDA reasons, will increase the likelihood of successful treatment against COVID-19 variants.  Go here to see the FDA’s announcement and explanation and for links to resources that describe the available monoclonal antibodies and their differences in greater detail.