This Week’s Hearings:
- Monday, February 24: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee
- Tuesday, February 25: The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies has scheduled an oversight hearing on “Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise.” The Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies will also hold an oversight hearing on “Federal Investments in Neuroscience Research.” The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions has scheduled a hearing titled “Examining Mental Health Treatment Options and Trends.”
- Wednesday, February 26: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions has scheduled a hearing titled “Providing Access to Affordable, Flexible Health Plans through Self-Insurance.” The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled “Messing with Success: How CMS’ Attack on the Part D Program Will Increase Costs and Reduce Choices for Seniors.” The Senate Committee on Appropriations Labor HHS Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Taking a Toll on Families and the Economy: The Rising Cost of Alzheimer’s in America.” The House Committee on Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Defense Health Agency. The House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “VA Accountability Oversight.”
- Thursday, February 27: The House Committee on Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise, and will consider the draft FY 2015 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled “Counterfeit Drugs: Fighting Illegal Supply Chains.”
CMS: 2015 Payment Policies for Medicare Parts C and D
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2015 Advanced Notice and draft Call Letter for Medicare health and drug plans, which include payment and policy changes. The Notice sets the Medicare growth rate at -3.55 percent in 2015, and reduces Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans by 1.9 percent. Analysts predict MA Plans to be cut by as much as 7 percent when accounting for health system reform. Roughly 30 percent of Medicare enrollment is delivered though MA Plans, which have bipartisan support on the Hill. Additional policy changes include lower out-of-pocket drug spending, improved notification for beneficiaries regarding plan changes, and improved coordination of care. Comments on the proposed Advance Notice and draft Call Letter are due March 7.
ONC EHR Certification Criteria Proposed Rule
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology released a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the 2015 Edition Electronic Health Record (EHR) Certification Criteria; Interoperability Updates and Regulatory Improvements. The rule proposes to provide smaller, incremental changes by updating criteria every twelve to eighteen months. The rule also proposes to make the 2015 Edition EHR criteria voluntary. Both 2014-certified developers and providers participating in the EHR Incentive Program would not need to upgrade to the 2015 Edition to meet the Certified EHR Technology definition.