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Year-End Package

PAYGO, Physician Fee Relief Expected, But Year-End Bill Still In Flux

Lobbyists expect Congress will likely waive the effects of upcoming PAYGO cuts on Medicare as part of the year-end package, but much of the rest of what could be a large legislative deal is still in flux -- including the extent to which the physician fee cuts will be mitigated and how much money lawmakers will dedicate to the health care industry overall.

CBO Estimates W&M Mental Health Provisions Cost $1.8 Billion

Latest Pandemic News

A Month From Deadline, WTO Can’t Break TRIPS Expansion Impasse

World Trade Organization members remain divided on whether to expand agreed intellectual property flexibilities for COVID-19 vaccines to tests and treatments, leaving an agreement looking unlikely by a deadline now less than a month away.

HHS: PRF Money Reprioritized For Boosters As Congress Didn’t Act

CMS Concerned About Low COVID-19 Booster Rates In Nursing Homes

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Latest News

California Attorney General Rob Bonta is urging the Federal Trade Commission to push forward with expansive regulation of “commercial surveillance” practices, including calling for HIPAA requirements to be extended to websites and applications that collect and store consumers’ health and geolocation data.

A coalition of 80 provider groups is calling on Congress to abandon a bill that would broaden the types of providers who can offer physician-level services, arguing the bill could destroy quality of care and hike health care costs, but the letter comes as updates on the physician workforce indicate that physicians are struggling to handle their current workload, due in part to rampant shortages of nonphysician practitioners.

HIV patient advocates say Congress needs to set aside $6 billion over 10 years for a national program to cover the costs of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV and associated services in order to meet the Biden administration’s goal of prescribing PrEP to 50% of the eligible population.

Cybersecurity risks remain substantial for the health care sector, partially due to the rise in telehealth, Moody’s Investors Service wrote in its most recent analysis of the industry, with the greatest risks faced by nonprofit hospitals and public health systems, while pharmaceutical companies have the lowest risk in the sector.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says its proposal to revise policies meant to protect the records of patients with substance use disorder from unauthorized disclosure would increase care coordination while improving protections for patients’ records, and while advocates cheered the proposal, some are concerned the revision doesn’t go far enough to prevent discrimination against these patients.

CMS on Monday (Nov. 28) reminded hospitals of their responsibility to protect health care workers in their workplaces as rates of violence against health care providers spike and drive resignations.

States should take steps to protect access to preventative care without cost-sharing for as many residents as possible now that the Affordable Care Act’s coverage requirements are under threat due to a recent Texas court decision, a group of Georgetown University researchers argue in a recent Commonwealth Fund blog.

States should help combat a shortage of mental health services by allowing psychologists to prescribe medications for mental health patients, a fellow at the CATO Institute recommends in a recent policy paper, noting that 45 states currently ban psychologists from prescribing such drugs.

A district court judge in Delaware has ordered Jazz Pharmaceuticals to remove its risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) distribution patent for the narcolepsy treatment Xyrem (sodium oxybate) from FDA’s Orange Book, agreeing with the Federal Trade Commission that it was an improper listing that impedes competition.

MedStar Health, Epic and Ascension Health have collected Medicare, Medicaid and private insurer data they say prove that telehealth care is substitutive for in-person care in certain consultative specialties and for patients who see their primary care providers four or more times a year.