The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of November 7 to 10. Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- CMS has published a notice advising teaching hospitals that they have until November 18 to ask Medicare to reconsider their per resident amounts or resident caps as shown in the Hospital Cost Report Information System (HCRIS) associated with cost reports that, as of July 1, 2022, were not reopenable. Learn more from this CMS notice.
- Due to an unplanned system outage of the No Surprises Act Independent Dispute Resolution (IDR) portal on November 8 and 9, initiating parties may not have been able to submit a Notice of IDR Initiation webform, complete IDR entity selection responses via the webform, and/or submit their IDR Notice of Offer webform. This system issue has now been resolved. The Departments have granted a four-day extension for initiating parties to get the Notice of IDR Initiation webform to submit IDR payment disputes where the open negotiation period expired on November 8, 9, or 10; a four-day extension for non-initiating parties of affected disputes to gain access the IDR Entity Selection Response webform to provide their entity selection agreement or disagreement; and a four-day extension for affected parties to gain access to and fill in their IDR Notice of Offer web form. Parties that have been affected will receive an extension and have been contacted directly.
- CMS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) has updated its strategy for person-centered innovation with a new document, “Person-Centered Innovation – An Update on the Implementation of the CMS Innovation Center’s Strategy,” that outlines steps the agency hopes will foster greater coordination and cooperation between primary care providers and medical specialists through the introduction and refinement of new payment models that seek to advance five objectives: drive accountable care, advance health equity, support innovation, address affordability, and partner to achieve system transformation. The new strategy also is the subject of the latest entry in the CMS blog, “The CMS Innovation Center’s Strategy to Support Person-centered, Value-based Specialty Care.”
- The latest edition of MLN Connects, CMS’s online newsletter about Medicare reimbursement issues, includes features on new G codes for telehealth home health services, a grouper update of the home health prospective payment system, and more. Find it here.
Department of Health and Human Services
- In the wake of the recent surge of pediatric patients in hospitals suffering from a variety of viruses, HHS’s Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) has reminded providers of resources that can help them manage this surge in pediatric patients. Those resources, all new or recently updated, are:
- HHS has renewed the monkeypox public health emergency. See its declaration here.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has updated its clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids for pain. A CDC news release explains how the guidelines were updated and outlines the objectives underlying the update, including a desire to impose less stringent restrictions on prescribing opioids for pain. Find the updated guidelines here.
- The CDC has issued a health advisory about early, elevated respiratory disease incidence caused by multiple viruses, including co-circulation of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza viruses, and COVID-19, that are occurring especially among children and are placing strain on health care systems.
Food and Drug Administration
- The FDA has updated its guidance on the use of bebtelovimab, a monoclonal antibody often used to treat COVID-19, explaining that the drug is not expected to neutralize omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 and noting that other treatments may be more effective in helping patients suffering from these variants. Learn more about this updated guidance, the rationale for it, and alternative therapeutics from this FDA notice.
- The FDA has issued an alert to health care professionals informing them that naloxone may not be effective in reversing the effects on their patients of xylazine that may be found in some illegal drugs such as fentanyl and heroin.
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission
- MedPAC members held two days of virtual public meetings last week. Go here to find the meetings’ agenda, the issues the commission addressed, and the presentations made over the two days.
Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC)
- MACPAC has written to CMS in response to the latter’s request for information on promoting efficiency and equity within CMS programs. MACPAC’s letter focuses on advancing health equity and the effect of COVID-19 public health emergency waivers and flexibilities. Find the MACPAC letter here.
- In a letter to CMS, MACPAC has commented on a notice of proposed rulemaking on streamlining the Medicaid eligibility, enrollment, and renewal processes. The letter details MACPAC’s overall support for the rule while warning that implementation of the proposed changes could impose administrative burdens on states. Find the MACPAC letter here.
HHS – Listening Session on Protecting the Safety of Patients and Healthcare Workers – November 14
Representatives of HHS, including Secretary Becerra, and leaders of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the CDC, CMS, and the FDA will hold a livestreamed listening session that will include chief executive officers of the country’s largest health care systems, board members, organizational patient safety leaders, and patient and family safety advocates to discuss protecting the safety of patients and health care workers. The event, to be held on Monday, November 14 at 1:00 (eastern), will be part of HHS’s plan to co-create a National Healthcare System Action Alliance to Advance Patient Safety. Learn more about the Action Alliance here and go here to register to participate in the November 14 event.
CDC – Flu Testing and Treatment During the COVID-19 Pandemic – November 15
The CDC will hold a webinar for clinics on flu testing and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, November 15 at 2:00 (eastern). For further information about the call and how to participate, see this CDC notice. Participants will qualify for continuing education credits.
CMS – Office of Minority Health – National Rural Health Day – November 15
CMS’s Office of Minority Health will hold a webinar on National Rural Health Day to discuss its commitment to rural, frontier, Tribal, and geographically isolated populations and to present an overview of available rural health resources. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, November 15 at noon (eastern). Go here to register to participate.
HHS/Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – Online Tools for Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey Users – November 16
AHRQ will hold a webinar on Wednesday, November 16 at 3:00 (eastern) to present three online tools that support the work of AHRQ’s Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS). These tools enable survey users to conduct analyses needed to produce valid comparisons of performance across similar health care organizations and to assemble a customized survey instrument to meet their needs. Go here to learn more about the webinar and to register to participate.
CDC – Clinical Practice Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Pain – November 17
The CDC will hold a webinar for clinicians on its new clinical practice guidelines for prescribing opioids for pain on Thursday, November 17 at 2:00 (eastern). Go here for information about the webinar and how to participate. Participants will qualify for continuing education credits.
CMS – Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System – November 29-December 1
CMS will hold Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) public meetings on Tuesday, November 29 through Thursday, December 1 to discuss its preliminary coding, Medicare benefit category, and payment determinations for new revisions to the HCPCS Level II code set. Learn more about when these virtual meetings will be held, how to join them, and how to register to speak from this CMS notice.
CMMI – Specialty Care Strategy Listening Session – December 1
The CMS Innovation Center (CMMI) will hold a specialty care strategy listening session on Thursday, December 1 at 1:00 (eastern) that will include an overview of its specialty care models and its rationale for focusing on specialty care integration, an overview of its specialty care strategy, and guest panelist feedback on the specialty care strategy. Go here for more information about the listening session and to register to participate.
MACPAC – December 8-9
Members of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission will hold their next public meetings on Thursday, December 8 and Friday, December 9. The agenda and information about participating in the meeting are not yet available but when they are they will be posted here.
MedPAC – December 8-9
Members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission will hold their next public meeting on Thursday, December 8 and Friday, December 9. The agenda and information about participating in the meeting are not yet available but when they are they will be posted here.
HHS – Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines – December 2
HHS’s Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines will meet virtually on Friday, December 2 at 1:00 (eastern). For more information about the commission and the agenda for the meeting, see this Federal Register notice.
FDA – Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee – December 14
The FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee will meet virtually on Wednesday, December 14 at 9:00 (eastern). For information on the meeting’s agenda, the docket the committee has created for the meeting, how to submit comments and papers, and how to join the meeting, see this Federal Register notice.
HHS – New Technology Town Hall – December 14-15
HHS will hold a new technology town hall meeting on Wednesday, December 14 and Thursday, December 15, with both virtual sessions to begin at 9:00 (eastern), to discuss FY 2024 applications for add-on payments for new medical services and technologies under the hospital inpatient prospective payment system. Interested parties may present comments, recommendations, and data regarding whether the FY 2024 new medical services and technologies applications meet the substantial clinical improvement criterion. Learn more about the meeting and its purpose and how to participate from this Federal Register notice.