The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7.
The White House
Health Policy News
President Biden’s first budget proposal is expected to be released this Friday, April 9. It could have important policy implications for health care providers of all types.
The White House has posted a transcript of the April 7 press briefing provided by its COVID-19 response team and public health officials.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
FEMA has published a notice titled “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Safe Opening and Operation Work Eligible for Public Assistance;” the announcement “…defines the framework, policy details, and requirements for determining the eligibility of safe opening and operation work and costs under the PA [Public Assistance] Program.” Authorized by the declaration of a national emergency, FEMA will reimburse selected entities for “…the safe opening and operation of eligible facilities” under its public assistance program. Generally, such facilities are owned and operated by state and local governments, but in some cases those entities may contract for such operations with private, non-profit organizations, which would be eligible for such assistance. FEMA payments under this program are made only to state and local governments, which then reimburse any private, non-profit organizations with which they have contracted for eligible work performed between January 21, 2021 and September 30, 2021. For further information see this FEMA notice, which addresses in greater detail how the program works, including eligibility, eligible expenses, and more.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- CMS has released its proposed FY 2022 inpatient rehabilitation facility prospective payment system rule. Learn more from the CMS fact sheet or view the proposed rule itself.
- CMS has released its proposed FY 2022 Medicare payment and quality reporting updates for inpatient psychiatric facilities. Learn more from the CMS fact sheet or view the proposed rule itself.
Health Policy News
CMS has posted the latest edition of its weekly online publication MLN Connects. The following is its table of contents (with links to the individual items).
- PEPPERs for LTCHs, CAHs, IRFs, IPFs, Hospices, & SNFs
- Preparedness Resources: Cybersecurity & Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2
- Minority Health: Medicare Covers Preventive Services
Claims, Pricers, & Codes
- Changes in the Hospice Item Set Manual V3.00 Webinar — April 15
- Medicare Part A Cost Report: Easier File Uploads for e-Filing in MCReF Webcast — April 29
MLN Matters® Articles
- Quarterly Update for the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program (CBP) – July 2021
- Quarterly Update to the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) Procedure-to-Procedure (PTP) Edits, Version 27.2, Effective July 1, 2021
- Update to the Payment for Grandfathered Tribal Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) for Calendar Year (CY) 2021
- April 2021 Update of the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System
- Penalty for Delayed Request for Anticipated Payment (RAP) Submission – Implementation — Revised
- Dementia Care Call: Audio Recording & Transcript
- Open Payments Call: Audio Recording & Transcript
- SNF Resident Mood Interview Video
- 2021 Medicare Part C & Part D Reporting Requirements & Data Validation Web-Based Training — Revised
Department of Health and Human Services
HHS announced that all HRSA-funded health centers and health center program look-alikes will now be invited to participate in its health center COVID-19 vaccine program. This voluntary program started in February 9 with 250 participating health centers and expanded in March 11 to invite an additional 700 health centers. For this phase, an additional 520 health centers that operate in more than 2500 service delivery sites are now eligible to participate.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The CDC has awarded $3 billion to 64 jurisdictions to bolster vaccine distribution, access, administration, and promotion efforts and ensure greater equity and access to vaccines. See its announcement here.
- The CDC has updated its COVID-19 vaccination toolkit for government health departments and their public health partners. This toolkit is supplemented with updated, customizable vaccination education and promotion materials.
- The CDC has updated information about its Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, including how to report information and how this data is used.
- The CDC has updated its guidance about how and where to wear masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Food and Drug Administration
The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for the first antibody test authorized for use with home-collected dried blood spot samples. Samples collected at home are then sent to the laboratory of the product’s creator for analysis. The test is available only by prescription. See the FDA announcement and its emergency use authorization letter.
National Institutes of Health
The NIH has launched a clinical trial to determine whether people who are highly allergic or have a mast cell disorder are at increased risk for an immediate, systemic allergic reaction to the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more about the trial and its objectives here.