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Capitol Hill Update
Prior Authorization: The bipartisan Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act is scheduled for a vote on the House floor this Wednesday, September 14, 2022. This bill would modernize the way Medicare Advantage plans and healthcare providers use prior authorization, including reducing administrative burden and reducing delayed care. Write your Representative today and urge them to vote yes on the bill this week.
Federal Budget Watch: The Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) federal budget runs out on September 30, 2022, with FY23 officially beginning on October 1, 2022. Because Democrats and Republicans have not yet come to an agreement on the 12 appropriations bills that comprise the federal budget, leaders are looking to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep federal agencies funded at the previous year’s levels through December 9 or 16. This is the only “must-pass” bill Congress has on its agenda between now and the November midterm elections.
What this means for patient identification: In July, the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed its FY23 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill, which repealed Section 510, the ban on a unique patient identifier, for the fourth year in a row. Also in July, the US Senate Appropriations Committee released its draft appropriations bills, including the Labor-HHS appropriation bill that also repealed Section 510 for the second year in a row. A continuing resolution means the ban will remain in place during the duration of the CR. The ban will only be lifted if a final federal budget is passed and the ban remains out during final negotiations of that budget.
Privacy: Work on the American Data Privacy and Protection Act has stalled despite being voted out of the House Energy & Commerce Committee 53-2 due to concerns about preemption of California’s state privacy laws. Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) said she will work with the committee to address concerns of California lawmakers to hopefully get the legislation moving again.
Federal Agency Update
TEFCA: The Sequoia Project acting as the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) announced the application period for those interested in becoming a Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) will open on October 3. As part of the announcement, the Sequoia Project also released the final QHIN Application and Onboarding and Designation SOP documents.
OIG: The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released two reports on health equity opportunities and the program integrity risks associated with the proliferation of telehealth as a result of COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) relaxations.
CMS: AHIMA submitted comments on the Calendar Year 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) proposed rules. In both letters, AHIMA indicated it does not support CMS’ proposed change in terminology from “skin substitutes” to “wound care management” or “wound care management products.”
CMS also released a request for information (RFI) seeking input on patient access to healthcare and related challenges, providers experiences, advancing health equity, and the impact of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) waivers and flexibilities. Interested parties can respond through an online feedback form. AHIMA intends to provide feedback on this RFI.
SRA Tool Webinars: The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will be hosting webinars on September 14 and September 15 on the Security Risk Assessment (SRA). The sessions will provide a basic overview of the tool, as well as offer an opportunity for participants to ask questions.
AHIMA22 Global Conference
Attending AHIMA22 in Columbus, Ohio? Join us for our public policy sessions on information blocking, social determinants of health and what to expect in the next Congress.
Cyberattacks Against US Hospitals Mean Higher Mortality Rates, Study Finds (NBC News, September 2022)
Congress Is Back. Here are 4 Things to Watch Out For, From Postponing Pay Cuts to Mental Health Reform (Fierce Healthcare, September 2022)