Tag Archives: opioids

MedPAC Recommends Medicare Payment Updates for 2020

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has issued its annual report to Congress with recommendations for updates to Medicare fee-for-service rates for 2020. With regard to hospital services, MedPAC recommends that Congress update Medicare inpatient and outpatient prospective payment system (PPS) rates by 2% in 2020.  MedPAC also proposes a new hospital value incentive program (HVIP) to … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings on Drug Pricing, Other Health Policy Topics  

As we have previously reported, prescription drug pricing is an early focus for Congressional hearings this year.  This week the Senate Finance Committee held its second hearing on drug pricing, and the following hearings are on the schedule next week: On March 7, 2019, the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee is holding a hearing entitled … Continue Reading

Congressional Committees Focus on ACA and Other Health Policy Issues

Federal health policy is an early focus for Congressional committees.  In addition to several hearings held in January, Congressional hearings in February have concentrated on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and primary care, including the following: A House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the Texas v. United States court case challenging the constitutionality of … Continue Reading

CMS Educational Event on New Part D Opioid Overutilization Policies

On February 14, 2019, CMS is hosting an educational call on new opioid policies for Medicare drug plans.  The call will focus on improved safety alerts when opioid prescriptions are dispensed at the pharmacy, and drug management programs for individuals at-risk for misusing or abusing “frequently abused drugs” (opioids and benzodiazepines).  The target audience for … Continue Reading

HHS Proposes Changes to HIPAA Transaction Standard for Prescriptions for Schedule II Drugs in Retail Pharmacy Transactions

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a proposed rule that would modify the current HIPAA transaction standard for retail pharmacy transactions (the August 2007 revision of NCPDP telecommunications standard D.0) with respect to claims and similar transactions for Schedule II drugs.  HHS states that the change would enable covered entities to … Continue Reading

President Trump Signs Bipartisan Opioid Legislation into Law; Includes Open Payments Reporting Expansion

President Trump has just signed into law HR 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act.  The bipartisan legislation includes almost 200 provisions intended to strengthen opioid prevention and treatment efforts and bolster law enforcement tools. Among many other things, the new law:  Seeks to encourage … Continue Reading

CMS Hosts Forum for Opioid Prescribers to Address the Opioid Epidemic (Aug. 15)

On August 15, 2018, CMS is convening a Special Open Door Forum on “Sharing Federal Strategies to Address the Opioid Epidemic.”  The conference call, which will feature representatives from several Department of Health and Human Services agencies, is intended to educate opioid prescribers on federal resources and strategies for safe prescribing as well as other … Continue Reading

Congressional Committees Approve Legislation to Address Opioid Crisis

Congress is considering a wide range of legislative proposals that seek to address the continuing opioid crisis. The following committees have tackled this topic recently: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) approved S. 2680, the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, comprised of 40 proposals to address the opioid crisis through such … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings Focus on Health Care Innovation, Medicaid Fraud, Health Policy Legislation – But Spotlight Remains on Opioids

Congressional committees with jurisdiction over health care legislation continue to focus on the opioid crisis: The Energy and Commerce held a hearing on “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Improving the Ability of Medicare and Medicaid to Provide Care for Patients” and a roundtable discussion on “Personal Stories from the Opioid Crisis.” The House Oversight Healthcare Subcommittee … Continue Reading

2019 Medicare Advantage/Part D Policies Finalized, Including Comprehensive Addition and Recovery Act Drug Management Requirements

CMS has announced final Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D plan policies and rates for 2019. The final 2019 rule, published on April 16, 2018, implements a Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) provision that allows Part D plan sponsors to establish drug management programs. Under this policy, plan sponsors may limit at-risk beneficiaries’ access … Continue Reading

New HHS Advisors Appointed to Develop Strategy on Drug Pricing, Opioid Policy

HHS Secretary Alex Azar has appointed two advisors to help advance Department strategy to address prescription drug pricing and the opioid crisis. Daniel M. Best, the new Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Drug Pricing Reform, is charged with leading the HHS initiative to lower the cost of prescription drugs. He recently served as Corporate … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings Spotlight Opioid Crisis, 340B Program, Medicare Physician Payments & More

The opioid crisis continues to be a focus for Congressional committees. The House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings on prevention and public health solutions to the opioid crisis, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s role in combating the opioid epidemic. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing focusing on … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Proposed 2019 Medicare Advantage/Part D Reimbursement Methodologies and Policies

CMS is seeking comments on its proposed updates to the methodologies used to pay Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D plan sponsors for 2019.  This year CMS released its 2019 Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter in two parts.  In late 2017, CMS released proposed changes to the Part C risk adjustment model (Part I … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings on Federal Health Policies

A number of recent Congressional hearings focused on federal health policies, including the following: House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on the impact of health care consolidation, oversight of the Department of Health and Human Services (including the Trump Administration’s HHS budget request), and drug compounding. Ways and Means Committee hearings on President Trump’s HHS … Continue Reading

Congress Holds More Hearings on Opioid Crisis and Public Health Threats

A number of recent Congressional hearings focused on the opioid crisis, including the following: A House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing on the current landscape of the crisis and CMS efforts to prevent opioid misuse. A Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing examining the ways Medicaid may have unexpectedly contributed to development … Continue Reading

Year-End Congressional Hearings Examine Health Policies

This month, Congressional committees held a number of hearings that focused on health policy issues, including the following: House Energy & Commerce Committee hearings on the drug supply chain and patient brokering/addiction treatment fraud. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearings on the cost of prescription drugs and implementation of the 21st Century … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings Focus on Health Policy Issues

A number of Congressional panels have scheduled or held recent hearings on health policy issues, including the following: On November 30, 2017, the House Energy & Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act), featuring testimony by National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, M.D. and Food … Continue Reading

Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Recent Congressional hearings focusing on health policy issues include the following: House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on how covered entities use the 340B drug pricing program, ways to address the opioid crisis, FDA’s Expanded Access Program, and HHS’s public health preparedness for and response to the 2017 hurricane season. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and … Continue Reading

Drug Pricing, Drug Costs, and the Opioid Crisis are the Focus of Upcoming Congressional Hearings

The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has scheduled an October 11, 2017 hearing to discuss how covered entities use the 340B drug pricing program. A second Subcommittee hearing on October 11 will consider proposals from House members on ways to address the opioid crisis. On October 17, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions … Continue Reading

Roundup of Recent Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Several recent Congressional hearings have focused on health policy issues. For instance, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings on Food and Drug Administration regulation of over-the-counter drugs and Public Health Service Act health workforce programs. The Senate Finance Committee held hearings on the Graham-Cassidy health insurance reform bill, CHIP funding reauthorization, and health … Continue Reading

House Committees Examine Health Care Policy Issues

Recent House of Representatives committee hearings have focused on a variety of health care policy issues, including the following: Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on: the growth and oversight of the 340B drug discount program; drug and device company communications, including clinical/economic data; state efforts to address the opioid crisis; and extension of safety net … Continue Reading
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