The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for August 4-10. Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- CMS has temporarily suspended the federal Independent Dispute Resolution process, which adjudicates problems involving surprise medical bills, in the wake of a federal court ruling that found some of the process’s underlying regulations invalid. CMS has directed the certified Independent Dispute Resolution entities to pause all dispute resolution activities. As a result, providers and insurers temporarily cannot initiate new disputes. Learn more from this CMS notice.
- CMS has written to all 50 states with its review of their progress toward redetermining Medicaid eligibility as part of the Medicaid unwinding process. Its letters include data on states’ call center performance, renewal application processing times, and procedural termination rates. The letters point out areas where states are not meeting performance expectations and offer suggestions for improving that performance. Find the letters here.
- CMS has issued a toolkit for Medicaid and CHIP agencies to foster improvements in access, quality, and equity in postpartum care in their Medicaid and CHIP programs. This technical assistance has two components: quality improvement resources to helps state Medicaid and CHIP staff and quality improvement partners begin improving postpartum care for their beneficiaries; and an “Improving Postpartum Care” learning collaborative that offers approaches to improving postpartum care, including examples from different states. Find the toolkit and information about it here.
- CMS has published a quarterly notice listing CMS manual instructions, substantive and interpretive regulations, and other Federal Register notices involving Medicare and Medicaid and other programs administered by CMS that the agency has published over the recently completed three-month period. Learn more about the quarterly listing from this CMS announcement, which includes a link to a Federal Register notice.
- CMS has published a 2024 quality payment program proposed rule fact sheet and policy comparison table that provides an overview of the quality payment program proposals and requests for information included in the CY 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Notice of Proposed Rule Making and a comparison table contrasting existing policies with proposals. Go here and scroll down to the “Full Resource Library” heading and the August 9 entry, which is a direct download.
- CMS has published a 2023 MIPS Value Pathways (MVP) implementation guide that provides details about how to participate in a Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) MVP in 2023. Go here and scroll down to the “Full Resource Library” heading and the August 8 entry, which is a direct download.
- CMS has notified selected skilled nursing facilities and non-critical access hospital swing beds that it has found them to be out of compliance with SNF Quality Reporting Program requirements for calendar year 2022, which will affect their FY 2024 annual payment update. Learn more about the notifications and how facilities can respond to this problem from this CMS notice.
- CMS has published a bulletin on an October 2023 update of HCPCS codes used for skilled nursing facility consolidated billing enforcement. Find that notice here.
Department of Health and Human Services
- HHS and its Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) have awarded $30 million to 151 HRSA-funded health centers to improve developmental outcomes among children through age five through increased screenings and follow-up services. Learn more about the grants and find a link to a list of recipients from this HHS news release.
- HHS’s Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center has issued an alert to the health care sector warning stakeholders about the ransomware known as Rysida and urging organizations to learn more about Rysida and be prepared to defend themselves against it. Find that alert here.
Drug Enforcement Administration
The DEA will hold public listening sessions to receive input from stakeholders about the practice of telemedicine involving controlled substances and potential safeguards that might effectively prevent and detect diversion of controlled substances prescribed via telemedicine. Specifically, DEA is inviting interested persons, including medical practitioners, patients, pharmacy professionals, industry members, law enforcement, and other third parties, to express their views at the listening sessions about the advisability of permitting telemedicine prescribing of certain controlled substances without any in-person medical evaluation at all; about the availability and types of data that would be useful in detecting diversion of controlled substances via telemedicine that are either already reported or could be reported; and about specific additional safeguards that could be placed around the prescribing of schedule II controlled substances via telemedicine. The listening sessions will be held on Tuesday, September 12 and Wednesday, September 13 at 9:00 (eastern) at DEA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia and also will stream live online. Learn more from this DEA announcement, which includes a link to a Federal Register notice.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC has announced that it now recommends that all newborns under the age of eight months receive an RSV vaccine and that additional infants considered to be at high risk receive an additional vaccine between eight and 19 months of age. An estimated 58,000 to 80,000 children under five years of age, most of them infants, are hospitalized each year nationwide due to RSV infection. Learn more from this CDC announcement.
HHS – CMS – Medicaid and CHIP Renewal Webinars for Special Populations – August 17 and 24
CMS will hold a series of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) renewals webinars that focus on special populations. This webinar series will seek to provide partners with strategies to reach out to diverse communities and audiences to share information about Medicaid and CHIP renewals. Each webinar will include a “train-the-trainer” presentation during which CMS will present a set of downloadable slides that partners can use to educate others in their communities about Medicaid and CHIP renewals. Below is a list of upcoming webinars, both of which will be held at 3:00 (eastern). Go here to register for the remaining webinars:
- Thursday, August 17: Reaching Aging and Disability Populations
- Thursday, August 24: Reaching Rural Populations
CMS – Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office – Promising Practices for Utilizing Motivational Interviewing to Improve Care Coordination and Address Social Determinants of Health – August 17
CMS will hold a webinar on “Promising Practices for Utilizing Motivational Interviewing to Improve Care Coordination and Address Social Determinants of Health” on Thursday, August 17 at 2:00 (eastern).
This webinar will explore how motivational interviewing can improve communication in integrated care settings and improve relationships between health plans, providers, and individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Speakers will share information about prioritizing person-centered motivational interviewing approaches, with a focus on addressing social determinants of health, to improve member self-efficacy and outcomes for dually eligible individuals. For more information and to register to participate, go here.
CMS – Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment – August 21-22
CMS’s Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment will meet virtually on Monday, August 21 and Tuesday, August 22 at 9:30 (eastern) on both days. The purpose of the panel is to advise CMS on the clinical integrity of the Ambulatory Payment Classification groups and their associated weights, which are major elements of the Medicare hospital outpatient prospective payment system and the ambulatory surgical center payment system. Interested parties may contact the panel about submitting letters and comments to be added to the meetings’ agenda. Learn more, including how to participate, from this CMS notice, which also lists the panel’s members, including recent appointees.
CMS – SNF QRP Listening Session – August 29
On behalf of CMS, Acumen LLC is hosting a virtual listening session to seek feedback from skilled nursing facility administration and management staff, software vendors, and clinical staff on the expansion of collection and submission of Minimum Data Set assessment data used for the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program to include all residents receiving short-term skilled care in a skilled nursing facility regardless of their payer. This event will be held on Tuesday, August 29 at noon (eastern). Go here (and scroll down) for further information about the listening session and to register to participate.
HHS – Health Resources and Services Administration – Advancing Health Equity Among Hispanic/Latino Populations – August 29
HRSA will hold its fourth webinar in its Advancing Health Equity among Hispanic/Latino Populations series on Tuesday, August 29 at 1:00 (eastern). The webinar will highlight strategies to increase the Hispanic/Latino health workforce, and presenters will discuss HRSA’s programs and resources to support individuals across diverse health workforce settings and disciplines, including physicians, nurses, and community health workers. For more information about the webinar, including how to register, go here.
MedPAC – Commissioners’ Public Meeting – September 7 and 8
Members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission will hold their next public meeting on Thursday, September 7 and Friday, September 8. Meeting times and locations and remote participation information is not yet available, but when it is it will be posted here.
HHS – HRSA – National Telehealth Conference – September 12
HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will host a virtual National Telehealth Conference that brings public and private sector leaders together to discuss telehealth best practices, including balancing telehealth solutions and in-person services. The conference, to be held on Tuesday, September 12, will examine the importance of integrating telehealth into standard care. Go here to learn more about the conference and to register to participate.
DEA – Listening Session on the Remote Prescribing of Controlled Substances – September 12-13
The Drug Enforcement Administration will conduct public listening sessions to receive input from stakeholders about the practice of telemedicine involving controlled substances and potential safeguards that could effectively prevent and detect diversion of controlled substances prescribed via telemedicine. The listening sessions will be held on Tuesday, September 12 and Wednesday, September 13 at 9:00 (eastern) at DEA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia and also will stream live online. Learn more about the sessions and how to participate from this DEA announcement, which includes a link to a Federal Register notice.
MACPAC – Commissioners’ Public Meeting – September 21-22
Members of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) will hold their next public meeting on Thursday, September 21 and Friday, September 22. Meeting times and locations and remote participation information is not yet available, but when it is it will be posted here.