Bipartisan Letter Sent on Opioid Treatment Education Requirements

Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) led a bipartisan letter signed by 30 other members of Congress regarding physician training in the area of opioid addiction treatment. The letter requests that the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) require that all new physicians receive the necessary training to treat patients with opioid use disorder.

Cassidy, Brown Write CMS Regarding Non-Invasive Ventilators

Sens. Bill Cassidy, MD (R-La.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure Medicare and Medicaid beneficiary access to non-invasive ventilators (NIVs). Their letter follows a proposal from the agency to add the devices to the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program. Cassidy, Brown, and thirty-six other senators urge CMS to make sure that “the bidding and contract process takes into account medical need, care complexity, and beneficiary access to experienced providers in this specialized field.” They suggest that CMS evaluate other options to address the increased utilization of the products, such as changes to the criteria for coverage. Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and other members of the House of Representatives had previously written to the agency also asking to keep NIVs out of the competitive bidding process.

House Dems Push for End to Fetal Tissue Restrictions

Thirty-three Democratic House lawmakers have written to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging the department to reverse its restrictions on funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) around research involving fetal tissue obtained from abortions. The lawmakers outline the potential of such tissue in the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s, HIV, and other diseases.

HHS Personnel Update

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced Secretary Alex Azar’s decision to elevate Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Chief of Staff Paul Mango to serve as the department’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. This is a newly created position that will oversee policy planning and coordination for HHS.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups

Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing “to examine how the special diabetes program is changing the lives of Americans with Type 1 diabetes;” 9:30 a.m., 106 Dirksen Bldg.; July 10

House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing “The Trump Administration’s Attack on the ACA: Reversal in Court Case Threatens Health Care for Millions of Americans;” 10:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; July 10

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health hearing “The Cost of Caring;” 2:00 p.m., Room 210, House Visitors Center; July 10

House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing “Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Childhood Trauma: A Pervasive Public Health Issue that Needs Greater Federal Attention;” 10:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; July 11

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.R.3594 — To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to create health freedom accounts available to all individuals; Sponsor: Rep. Roy, Chip [R-TX-21]; Committees: House - Ways and Means

S.2051 — A bill to amend XVIII of the Social Security Act to require certain manufacturers to report drug pricing information with respect to drugs under the Medicare program; Sponsor: Sen. Menendez, Robert [D-NJ]; Committees: Senate – Finance

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