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Alexander To Amend Surprise Billing Legislation Before Senate Vote

The Senate health committee added an amendment from Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) to its surprise billing legislation requiring providers to inform consumers about network status and committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) agreed to work with Cassidy over the next few weeks to add more changes to the bill.

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The House Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday (June 26) advanced five Medicare-related bills, including legislation to expand coverage of telehealth services for mental health treatment, eliminate beneficiary cost-sharing for chronic care management services, and add 1,000 new residency slots under the Graduate Medical Education program.

Well over half a million people would lose coverage within a year if Medicaid work requirements took effect in all nine of the states that so far have received CMS’ approval to implement the requirements, according to a new analysis from public health researchers at George Washington University.

Kidney Care Partners calls for a legislative and regulatory overhaul of renal disease treatment, including changes to the Medicare end-stage renal disease prospective payment system, an expansion of the Medicare Kidney Disease Education benefit, an extension of Medigap access for those with kidney disease and an HHS study on the social, behavioral and biological factors that lead to the disease.

A bipartisan bill introduced Tuesday (June 25) by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) would create maternal and infant health quality measures for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as well as provide funding for regional partnerships between states, providers and other stakeholders to improve maternal care.

Several stakeholder groups are pushing the Senate health committee to change the committee’s methodology or payment rate for out-of-network bills in the lead-up to the markup of the legislation.

The House passed a minibus funding package on Tuesday (June 25) that aims to give FDA a $184 million funding boost over fiscal 2019 levels and redirect $100,000 from the agency’s general purpose funding towards its efforts to establish a safe, lawful level of cannabidiol (CBD) to be allowed in food and dietary supplements.

President Donald Trump on Monday (June 24) signed legislation that reups critical hazard preparedness programs at HHS. Stakeholders applauded the signing of the bill, which has been in limbo for months as several HHS pandemic preparedness authorities expired last year when the Senate failed to pass the legislation before the 115th session of Congress came to a close.

After several dozen sprout-related foodborne illness outbreaks, FDA warned sprout seed handlers at all levels of the supply chain to clean up their act by issuing draft guidance Monday (June 24) on how to reduce the risk of pathogen exposure during the production of sprout seeds.

The Supreme Court sided with plaintiffs in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case that consumer advocacy groups had warned could have wide-ranging consequences for those that want to obtain information from the government, as it could tighten restrictions on what information can be released and virtually dry up data the groups have obtained from agencies such as FDA.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) bipartisan tobacco-to-21 bill has made its way into the Senate health committee’s health care costs legislation that will be marked up Wednesday (June 26).

The House Ways & Means Committee will mark up five health care bills on Wednesday (June 26), including a new bill to expand telehealth services and fund the National Quality Forum and the State Health Insurance Programs, a bill that would eliminate cost-sharing responsibilities for chronic care services under Medicare, and a bill to extend funding to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund.

CMS appears to be postponing its plan to undo a longstanding regulation that requires state Medicaid programs to provide transportation for beneficiaries to travel to and from non-emergency medical appointments.

FDA on Friday (June 21) formally scrapped its hidden database of safety incidents associated with certain medical devices and said it will beef up its public reporting program instead.

CMS on Friday (June 21) finalized a streamlined coverage policy for transcatheter aortic valve replacements that reduces the number of procedures required to start or maintain a TAVR program.