Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


FDA Considers Efficacy of This Seasonís Flu Vaccine

Commissioner of Food and Drugs Scott Gottlieb issued a statement last week stating that public health experts must work to increase the effectiveness of the flu vaccine against H3N2 flu strain. His agency is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and others within the federal government to determine why this year’s vaccine has provided less than optimal protection against H3N2 -- the dominate strain in the current flu season. The agencies are seeking to understand how many were hospitalized for the flu, treated with antiviral medications for flu-like-illness, and whether those seniors who received a high-dose vaccine or adjuvanted flu vaccine had better outcomes than those who received a standard dose. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discussed the composition of next season’s flu vaccines at an annual advisory committee meeting on March 1. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended changing two of the strains that are in this year’s flu vaccine for the northern hemisphere. Gottlieb noted that flu season may continue to affect Americans into the month of April.

Public Health Bills Pass House

The House of Representatives passed the following public health bills last week by voice vote unless other wise specified. H.R. 880, the Military Injury Surgical Systems Integrated Operationally Nationwide to achieve ZERO Preventable Deaths (MISSION ZERO) Act, establishes a grant program for military-civilian partnerships in trauma care. H.R. 767, the Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act provides health care professionals training on how to identify and appropriately treat human trafficking victims. H.R. 1222, the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act, enhances research and surveillance on congenital heart disease and was passed by a vote of 394-7. H.R. 2410, the Sickle Cell Disease Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act, reauthorizes the Sickle Cell Disease Prevention and Treatment Demonstration Program. H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health Act, would reauthorize oral health promotion and disease prevention programs and grants to states to support oral health workforce activities and was passed by a vote of 387-13. Finally, H.Res. 443 recognizes the importance and effectiveness of trauma-informed care.

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