HealthCare Roundtable e-News – October 11, 2022

 

Still Time to Register for Annual Conference

Hotel Deadline Extended to Wednesday, October 12

Don’t be shut out! We have filled our block of rooms at The Alexandrian Hotel; however, we’ve added rooms and extended the deadline to provide one last opportunity to secure a hotel reservation for this year’s Annual Conference. Use the links below to register for the conference and to secure your hotel room. 

The Roundtable’s highly-regarded annual conference returns to an in-person event in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia on November 9-11, 2022. 

We have released an Updated Agenda including specific topics for the Roundtable Health Plan Workshop scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. This session is for health plan staff only. We expect to begin announcing specific speakers next week.


The Agenda – NEW Information!

We have released an Updated Agenda including specific topics for the Roundtable Health Plan Workshop scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. This session is for health plan staff only. We expect to begin announcing specific speakers next week.


A Virtual Option

Since we know many of our members have appreciated the opportunity to share our conference with plan leaders and staff, we will offer a virtual option to any member that registers at least one attendee for the in-person conference. Details will be provided to registered health plan members.


Lodging Information

The Alexandrian Old Town Alexandria

$229 Room Rate

Book by October 12, 2022

Top News

FDA Launches Pilot Program to Advance Development of Interchangeable Biosimilars

On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the launch of a new pilot program to advance the development of biosimilars and interchangeable biosimilars. Congress included the program, along with two other FDA pilot programs, in the prescription drug user fee reauthorization package in the continuing resolution that was signed into law on September 30. The program will focus on enhancing regulatory decision-making and facilitating scientific-based recommendations in areas foundational to biosimilars and interchangeable product development. The pilot program will comprise two demonstration projects. One project will focus on improving the efficiency of biosimilar product development, and the other project will work to advance the development of interchangeable products. Twelve months following the completion of the demonstration projects, the FDA will publish a comprehensive strategy outlining specific actions it plans to take to facilitate the development of biosimilars and interchangeable biosimilar products.

 

CMS Will Begin Paying Hospitals in Full for 340B Drugs in Two Weeks

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told a federal district court last week that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin paying hospitals in full for 340B drugs in two weeks. Last week, the D.C. District Court directed Medicare to begin paying hospitals the full amount for 340B drugs after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled a nearly 30 percent pay cut for Part B drugs obtained through the discount program in July. The district court did not rule whether Medicare must pay hospitals back for cuts dating back to the beginning of 2018, which could equate to more than $10 billion.

 

CBO Releases Policy Approaches to Reduce What Commercial Insurers Pay for Hospitals’ and Physicians’ Services

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report identifying policy approaches that federal lawmakers could adopt to reduce the prices that commercial insurers pay for hospitals’ and physicians’ services, thereby lowering health insurance premiums and the cost of the federal subsidies. The prices that commercial health insurers pay for these services are much higher, on average, and have been rising more quickly than the prices paid by public health insurance programs. The report identifies factors that lead to higher prices, how federal legislation can address high prices and implications for the federal budget.

Executive Action

Under Executive Order 14031, the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPI) was established to address equity, justice, and opportunity disparities within AA and NHPI communities. The commission recently released its first inaugural report across six key issue areas including belonging, inclusion, anti-Asian hate, and discrimination, data disaggregation, language access, economic equity, health equity, and immigration and citizenship status.

Administrative Action

  • The White House released a document titled, “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights,” which outlines what consumers can expect from safe and equitable use of AI in fields including healthcare. The guidance explains that there should be extra protections for sensitive types of data that AI and algorithms may collect, including data about pregnancy and abortion care and other types of harm. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of Health Secretary Becerra explained that HHS needs to be prepared to use every tool at its disposal to address health crises, including AI, but should ensure such tools operate in a way that promotes safety and equity.

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the expansion of the pool of providers who can administer Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved or authorized monkeypox vaccines and therapies while being protected from liability under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. The PREP Act declaration comes nearly two months after Secretary Becerra declared a public health emergency for monkeypox on Aug. 4. He has since issued two 564 declarations allowing the FDA to authorize monkeypox vaccines and tests for use during the public health emergency.

  • The Biden-Harris Administration held a White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Healthsperien has developed a detailed summary of the event, which can be found here. Of note, President Biden underscored three principles to strengthen food security efforts to support his goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030. The three principles are focused on (1) increasing healthy food access, (2) educating and providing Americans with healthy food options, and (3) boosting Americans’ physical activity. In addition, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack outlined the conference’s five pillars to address food insecurity and proposed permanent expanded child tax credit, a pilot Medicaid program to cover healthy meals, and updated Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

  • To address the lack of coordination and quality information across healthcare directories, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) latest Request for Information (RFI) proposes a centralized, public database of healthcare providers and services, or a National Directory of Healthcare Providers and Services (NDH). In addition to helping patients access care more easily, CMS aims to reduce the administrative burden for payors and providers as well as promote health data exchange and interoperability. These infrastructural improvements have the potential to dramatically improve patients’ healthcare experiences and bolster public health reporting. CMS is requesting input from stakeholders on NDH priorities, data elements, risks, and suggested actions by December 6, 2022.  

Congressional Action

The House passed the Mental Health Matters Act (H.R. 7780), which aims to address mental health issues among students, families, and educators whose mental health concerns have been aggravated by the pandemic. The legislation would provide grants to establish a pipeline for school-based mental health service professionals, grow the number of school mental health experts in high-need locations, and establish a grant program to bolster access for students to evidence-based trauma support. Finally, the bill mandates that disability accommodations be available to incoming students at institutions of higher education if they have documents outlining their disability. The legislation has now moved to the Senate for consideration. 

Marketplace

Optum and Change Healthcare completed their $7.8 billion merger, combining data and analytics capabilities allowing Optum access to data from 85 million patients across the U.S. healthcare continuum and thousands of providers. The merger, recently cleared by a federal judge to proceed, aims to connect and simplify clinical, administrative, and payment processes for healthcare providers and payers.

Research

Kaiser Family Foundation/CNN latest mental health survey reveals that nine in ten of Americans believe that there is a mental health crisis in the U.S. today, with most people saying the opioid epidemic, youth mental health issues, and severe mental illness are at a crisis level. For many, the cost, stigma, and lack of diverse mental health resources are mental health barriers, with Black and Hispanic adults facing significant obstacles. In addition, while 85% of Americans are open to leveraging the 988-suicide hotline in times of mental health crisis, the survey found 56% to not have heard of the hotline at all.