Federal Health Policy Update for March 14

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for March 8-14.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. The White House The Biden administration this week released its proposed FY 2025 federal budget.  Health care highlights include: Making permanent the expanded health care premium tax credits introduced to make health insurance marketplace plans more affordable for middle-class Americans. Extension of coverage similar to Medicaid to residents of the 10 states that have not taken advantage of the Affordable Care Act opportunity to expand their Medicaid programs. Permission for states to extend [...]

Federal Health Policy Update for January 11

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for January 5 - 11.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services CMS will establish 200 new Medicare-funded residency slots in FY 2025.  Learn more about the additional slots here and find information about how to apply for those slots here.  The deadline for applications is March 31. CMS released guidance for Medicare Part D plans that describes coverage and processing claims for COVID-19 therapeutics.  Medicare Part D plans must cover commercially available oral antivirals for COVID-19 [...]

Bill Would Halt Medicaid DSH Cuts, Bring Other Changes

A wide-ranging bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee would eliminate $16 billion in Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) payments over the next two years. The Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act, passed by the committee with unanimous, bipartisan support, also seeks to improve access to mental health care for Medicare patients living in rural and underserved areas; improve access to behavioral health services via telehealth for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries; reduce some of the recently adopted cuts in Medicare payments to physicians that will take effect in 2024; toughen federal regulations governing pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs); [...]

Telehealth Serving Some Medicare Patients Well

Medicare patients with serious mental health problems were well-served through telehealth during the COVID-19 crisis. According to a new study published by the JAMA Network, such patients experienced … 13.0% more mental health visits than those receiving care at practices that largely used in-person visits.  There were no changes in medication adherence, hospital and emergency department use, or mortality based on the extent of telemental health use. The study’s findings support continued use of telehealth for Medicare patients with mental health problems even now that the greatest threat of the pandemic has passed. Learn more about how the study was [...]

2023-11-01T13:00:57+00:00November 1, 2023|Medicare, Telehealth|

Telehealth May Help Medicaid Patients With Opioid-Related Addictions

When access to buprenorphine treatment became available to Medicaid beneficiaries in response to the COVID-19 crisis, patients who obtained such treatment via telehealth were more likely to remain under treatment for their disorder than those who received similar care through physician offices. This new finding, reported in the JAMA Network, suggests that prescribing buprenorphine treatment through telehealth may be beneficial to patients and should remain an option for patients and providers after the COVID-19-inspired policy, extended after the formal end of the public health emergency, expires at the end of 2024, as currently scheduled. While the study found that patients [...]

2023-10-25T06:00:28+00:00October 25, 2023|Medicaid, Telehealth|

MedPAC Outlines Plans for the Coming Year

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has shared its agenda for its 2023-2024 public meeting cycle. According to MedPAC, it will engage in its regular work of offering recommendations to Congress on the adequacy of Medicare payments to providers and, as needed, suggest changes in those payments.  In addition, it will fulfill two statutory requirements in the coming year:  to evaluate Medicare Advantage special needs plans for individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid and to review the new “Rural Emergency Hospital” designation. In addition, MedPAC writes that We are working on several other issues in the Medicare program as well, [...]

Federal Health Policy Update for October 19

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for October 13-19.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. Congress At this moment there is still no Speaker of the House of Representatives.  After 20 and then 22 House Republicans voted against Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, Mr. Jordan has joined others, including senior Democrats, in supporting a plan to expand the powers of the temporary speaker, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC).  Mr. Jordan remains the speaker designee, an option that will enable him to continue to seek [...]

DEA Okays Continued Remote Prescribing of Controlled Substances

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has extended the authority of qualified health care providers to prescribe controlled substances via telehealth through the end of 2024. This authorization originated as a temporary measure in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and this is its second extension since the end of the formal public health emergency. The DEA says it intends to promulgate new remote prescribing standards by the fall of 2024. Without the extension, the authority would have expired on November 11. Learn more about this DEA decision, why it was made, and what to expect next from this Federal [...]

2023-10-11T06:00:23+00:00October 11, 2023|COVID-19, Telehealth|

Federal Health Policy Update for September 28

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for September 22-28.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. The White House President Biden has signed H.R. 2544, the Securing the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Act,  which provides for awarding multiple grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements to operate the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Congress Congressional leaders have not come to agreement on how to avert a federal government shutdown this weekend.  While Senate leaders introduced a continuing resolution that would fund the government through November 17, that bill has [...]

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