Federal Health Policy Update for Friday, July 30

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Friday, July 30.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Final Medicare Payment Regulations for FY 2022

CMS has published four final rules for Medicare payments in FY 2022:

(See also CMS’s fact sheet)

(See also CMS’s fact sheet)

(See also CMS’s fact sheet)

(See also CMS’s fact sheet)

The White House

  • The White House has announced new actions to get more people vaccinated and slow the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant.  Among those actions:  requiring federal employees and on-site contractors to attest that they are vaccinated or wear masks and undergo regular testing; providing reimbursement for small- and medium-sized businesses for paid leave needed for workers to get themselves and their families vaccinated; urging state and local governments to offer financial incentives for people to get vaccinated; and initiating a number of steps designed to increase the vaccination rate among students 12 years of age and older.  Find the White House news release outlining these and other steps here.

Provider Relief Fund

  • HHS has updated the “Reporting Requirements and Auditing” section of its Provider Relief Fund web page, adding slides and video from its July 14 and July 20 webinars about recent changes in those reporting and auditing requirements.  Find the updated web page here.

Department of Health and Human Services

COVID-19

  • HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has updated its “Action Report Resources and Examples” document with sample considerations that health care entities can use when documenting their ongoing After Action Report (AAR) process for COVID-19.  It also provides sample COVID-19 AARs that are currently available to the public.
  • HHS’s Office of the Inspector General has found that states’ backlogs of nursing home inspections have grown substantially during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Nationally, 71 percent of nursing homes had gone at least 16 months without a standard survey as of May 31, 2021.  See the OIG’s report on this situation.

Health Policy News

  • HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced that it will make available $76 million in Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education grants, to be awarded competitively, in three categories:
    • Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education New and Expanded Residency Program – up to 85 recipients will receive a total of approximately $46 million to support community-based medical and dental residency programs in rural and underserved communities.  Funding will go toward supporting new resident positions at new and existing teaching health centers.  Applications are due September 21, 2021.
    • Teaching Health Center Planning and Development Program – up to 50 grantees will receive a total of approximately $25 million over two years to create new community-based residency programs to increase the primary care workforce, including in rural and underserved communities.  Applications are due August 30, 2021.
    • Teaching Health Center Planning and Development Technical Assistance – one cooperative agreement recipient will receive approximately $5 million over three years to provide technical assistance to HRSA’s Teaching Health Center Planning and Development Program grant recipients.  Applications are due August 30, 2021.

Go here for further information about the HRSA announcement and for links to the individual grant programs.

  • HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded 100 grants worth $250 million to improve access to Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics that provide community-based support for people in need of substance use disorder and mental health treatment services.  Learn more about the grants and the services they seek to support in this HHS news release.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Health Policy News

  • CMS has published the latest edition of MLN Connects, its online weekly bulletin.  This week’s edition includes articles about hospital price transparency requirements, ambulance service billing requirements, and other subjects.  For this and more, go here.
  • CMS has launched a new Infant Well-Child Visit Learning Collaborative, which is part of its Maternal and Infant Health Initiative, to support state efforts to increase the number of infants receiving high-quality well-child care.  This learning collaborative will offer technical assistance to state Medicaid and CHIP agencies and their partners.  Go here to learn more about CMS’s  Infant Well-Child Visit Learning Collaborative and its Maternal and Infant Health Initiative.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19

Food and Drug Administration

Health Policy News

  • The FDA has approved the first interchangeable biosimilar insulin product to improve glycemic control in adults and pediatric patients with Type 1 diabetes and in adults with Type 2 diabetes.  Learn more from the FDA announcement.

U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

  • The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has introduced a “COVID-19 Disinformation Toolkit” designed to help state, local, tribal and territorial officials bring awareness about misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories appearing online related to COVID-19’s origin, scale, government response, prevention, and treatment.

Congressional Research Service

Stakeholder Events

Wednesday, August 4 – CMS

Hospice Quality Reporting Program Forum

Wednesday, August 4 at 2:00 p.m. (eastern)

CMS will host a webinar to share updates on the on the fiscal year 2022 hospice wage index and payment rate update and hospice quality reporting requirements final rule.  During this webinar, CMS staff will provide information on the FY 2022 hospice final rule summary and public display of quality measures and other hospice data updates.  Go here for additional information about the webinar and to register.

Wednesday, August 4 – Centers for Disease Control

Zoonoses and One Health Update (ZOHU) Call

Wednesday, August 4 at 2:00 – 3:00 pm ETClick here for more information

ZOHU Calls are one-hour monthly webinars that provide timely education on zoonotic and infectious diseases, One Health, antimicrobial resistance, food safety, vector-borne diseases, recent outbreaks, and related health threats at the animal-human-environment interface.

Wednesday, August 11 – CMS

Price Transparency Stakeholder Webinar

Wednesday, August 11 at 2:00 p.m. (eastern)

This webinar will focus on how to meet the requirements of the Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule for posting standard charge information in a comprehensive machine-readable file.  For further information about the webinar go here and to register for the webinar go here.

Thursday, August 12 – CMS

Ambulance Open Door Forum

Thursday, August 12 at 2:00 p.m. (eastern)
The subject of this forum is the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection System.  Learn about the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collection System, including current status and activities, information sampled that organizations need to collect and report, and proposed revisions and clarifications in the 2022 physician fee schedule proposed rule.  Go here for further information about the forum and how to participate.

Monday, August 23 – CMS

Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment

Monday, August 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (eastern)

CMS’s Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment will meet virtually to advise the agency about the clinical integrity of the Ambulatory Payment Classification groups and their associated weights and about supervision of hospital outpatient therapeutic services.  The advice provided by the panel will be considered as CMS prepares its annual updates for the hospital outpatient prospective payment system.

The public may participate in this meeting by webinar or teleconference.  Teleconference dial-in and webinar information will appear on the final meeting agenda, which will be posted here when available.

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