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Healthcare Today: January 26, 2024


Senate Finance Leadership Releases Plan to Mitigate Generic Drug Shortages: Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) released a new white paper outlining policy reforms the legislators will consider in hopes of abating generic drugs shortages. The senators detailed potential changes to Medicare Part A and B, incentives to providers to encourage supply chain resilience, and potential reforms to the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program in the notice. Committee staff have informed Prime Policy Group that the options are neither final nor exhaustive. You may contact any of the authors of this newsletter if your organization would like assistance interfacing with the Committee on ideas to address drug shortages.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) Sends Letter to Medicare Advantage Marketing Organizations: On Tuesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden sent letters to five third-party marketing organizations (TPMOs) on their business practices, including the use of lead generators. Wyden is continuing to probe “unfair” marketing relationships between TMPOs and lead generators, stating the organizations “put their own financial interests ahead of seniors’ health needs.” The companies area sked to respond by January 31st.

House Education and Workforce Committee Announces RFI on ERISA: On Monday, the House Committee on Education and Workforce announced a public request for information regarding the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) program. The Committee hopes to hear input on several issues, including transparency, portability, data sharing, quality measures, fiduciary obligations, HIPAA protections, high-cost specialty drugs, and federal ERISA preemption. Comments are due by March 15 to EdandWorkforceRFI@mail.house.gov. You may contact any of the authors of this newsletter if your organization would like assistance interfacing with the Committee.

Senate Special Committee on Aging Holds Hearing on Assisted Living Facilities: On Thursday, the Senate Special Committee on Aging, chaired by Senator Bob Casey(D-PA), held a hearing on assisted living facilities. Panelists included hiring directors, patients, and nursing home executive directors. Panelists said the shortfall of available staff is a key contributor to limited space and poorer quality, while senators pressed on the merits of staffing requirements.

HHS Announces New Programs to Integrate Mental Health and Substance Abuse Care: Last Friday, HHS announced the Innovation in Behavioral Health (IBH) Model, with goals to better connect patients with mental health and substance abuse disorders with physical, behavioral, and social care teams. “Addressing the nation’s behavioral health crisis remains a key priority for CMS,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. The model will launch in Fall 2024 and is anticipated to operate for eight years. CMS will release a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the model in the Spring.  

HHS Announces Cybersecurity Goals: On Wednesday, HHS released a set of voluntary healthcare cybersecurity performance goals (CPGs) and a new gateway website to help Health Care and Public Health sector organizations implement these cybersecurity practices. The American Hospital Association said it supports the goals, particularly given that they are voluntary and not based on mandatory requirements.

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