Legislative Activity

House Committee on Energy and Commerce to Advance 12 Bills Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce announced the committee will consider 22 bills April 26 and April 27, including 12 bills focused on combatting the opioid crisis that passed the Subcommittee on Health last week. The health bills being considered include: H.R. 1818, the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2015, which provides grants to states to streamline state requirements and procedures for veterans with military emergency medical training to become civilian emergency medical technicians; H.R. 3250, the DXM Abuse Prevention Act of 2015, which amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prevent the abuse of dextromethorphan (DXM); H.R. 3680, the Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2015, to provide for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to carry out a grant program for co-prescribing opioid overdose reversal drugs ; H.R. 3691, the Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2015, to amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the residential treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women and to establish a pilot program to provide grants to state substance abuse agencies to promote innovative service delivery models for women; H.R. 4586, Lali’s Law, to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants to states developing standing orders and educating health care professionals regarding the dispensing of opioid overdose reversal medication without person-specific prescriptions; H.R. 4599, the Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to permit certain partial fillings of prescriptions; H.R. 4641, to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes; H.R. 4969, the John Thomas Decker Act, to amend the Public Health Service Act to direct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide for informational materials to educate and prevent addiction in teenagers and adolescents who are injured playing youth sports and subsequently prescribed an opioid; H.R. 4976, the Opioid Review Modernization Act, to require the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to seek recommendations from an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration before approval of certain new drugs that are opioids without abuse-deterrent properties; H.R. 4978, the Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act this legislation would require the Comptroller General of the United States to issue a report one year after enactment on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). ; H.R. 4981, the Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to improve access to opioid use disorder treatment; and H.R. 4982, Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016, to direct the Comptroller General of the United States to evaluate and report on the in-patient and outpatient treatment capacity, availability, and needs of the United States. Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) expects the bills to be considered on the House Floor at the beginning of May. The opioid bills being considered will act as House companion legislation to S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which passed the Senate in March.

Senate to Consider Emergency Supplemental Funding for the Zika Virus

Senate Republicans are hoping to include a Zika supplemental funding package in the appropriations bill being considered on the floor this week. The amount requested is unknown, but it is not expected to meet the President’s $2 billion request. House Appropriators did not include the $1.9 billion request for Zika supplemental funding in the FY 2017 Agriculture Bill that was forwarded to the House Floor last week and instead directed the Administration to use unobligated funds to address the Zika virus.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, April 26: The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing titled “The Need for More Timeliness and Transparency: Oversight of the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Program.”
  • Tuesday, April 26 and Wednesday, April 27: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a markup of a number of bills including H.R. 4978, Nurturing and Supporting Healthy Babies Act; H.R. 4641, to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication; H.R. 3680, Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2015; H.R. 3691, Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act; H.R. 1818, Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2015; H.R. 4981, Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act; H.R. 3250, DXM Abuse Prevention Act of 2015; H.R. 4969, John Thomas Decker Act of 2016; H.R. 4586, Lali’s Law; H.R. 4599, Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016; H.R. 4976, Opioid Review Modernization Act of 2016; and H.R. 4982, Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016.
  • Wednesday, April 27: The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing titled “Counterfeits and Their Impact on Consumer Health and Safety.”
  • Wednesday, April 27: The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a markup of several bills including S. 2508, Youth Sports Concussion Act.
  • Wednesday, April 27: The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a markup of several bills including S. 2205, Tribal Healing and Wellness Courts Act.
  • Wednesday, April 27: The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing titled “Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ Business Model: the Repercussions for Patients and the Health Care System.”
  • Thursday, April 28: The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a markup of three bills including S. 2348, Rapid DNA Act.
  • Thursday, April 28: The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing titled “Mental Health in America: Where Are We Now?”
  • Thursday, April 28: The House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice will hold a hearing titled “Oversight of the False Claims Act.”
  • Friday, April 29: The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health will hold a markup of pending legislation.
  • Friday, April 29: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing titled “The Pet Medication Industry: Issues and Perspectives.”

Regulatory Activity

CMS Releases Proposed Rule on Inpatient and LTCH Prospective Payment Systems

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule to update the FY 2017 Medicare payment policies and rates under the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and the Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System (PPS). The proposed rule would apply to approximately 3,330 acute care hospitals and approximately 430 LTCHs and would affect discharges occurring on or after October 1, 2016. It includes policies that continue to shift Medicare payments from volume to value. This proposed rule seeks to change payment rates under IPPS; make IPPS rate adjustments for documentation, coding, and the two midnight policy; address Medicare Uncompensated Care Payments; update the Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC) Reduction Program; update the reporting policy for Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP); address notification procedures for outpatients receiving observation services; enact requirements for the Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs and Quality Reporting; require Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs and quality reporting; make changes to the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IGR) Program; implement updates to the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program; update the PPS-Exempt Cancer Hospital Quality Reporting Program; update the Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Quality Reporting (IPFQR) Program; implement changes under the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System; and make changes to the Long Term Care Hospital Quality Reporting Program (LTCH QRP).

CMS has stated that it will accept comments until June 16, 2016, and will respond to comments in the final rule to be issued by August 2016.