NVHR Member Monthly Federal Policy Update

 
 
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Welcome – Lorren Sandt  

  • Lorren to facilitate due to a conflict in Daniel’s schedule.  Martha to only be on call for first half due to a travel conflict.  Make the most of May, Hepatitis Month! 

Viral Hepatitis Testing Act  - Lorren Sandt  

  • Moving forward with adding Democrats.  Martha traveling to DC today. Senator Kerry’s office moving forward.  Please visit Democrats in your district.  McCulsky’s office anxious to sign on. No Republicans on Senate side have signed on.  Stumbling block
  • Michael Ninburg in DC last week.  Meetings Whitney and Sue to get a Republican.  Trying to get McCain, McCulsky and Burr.  Resistance on both House and Senate side.  Talked about strategizing for next Congress to drop in beginning of 2013.  Size of offset max of 35 million.  Work group that looked at offsets, Cassidy’s office had some thoughts, but we are welcoming ideas.  Please send to anyone at NVHR. 

Appropriations – Oscar Mairena

  • The house and senate have released their “302(b) Allocations” which set the spending level that every appropriations bill will be written at.  Because the House and the Senate are working under two separate budgets resolutions, their individual Labor-HHS Subcommittee spending levels are also different. There is a 7 million dollar difference between the House and the Senate Labor-HHS subcommittees’ allocations (the Senate’s being higher). This will prove to be even more of a challenge as they go into reconciliation and appropriations processes.
  •  This week the House will consider legislation that would replace the sequester with other Appropriations cuts totaling more than $19 billion below the $1.047 trillion level set by the Budget Control Act.  
  •  Last week there was an email from Mimi about the HAP Prevention and Public Health Fund sign on letter.  The Prevention and Public Health Fund was voted by the House to be eliminated as an offset to the student loan interest rate. This is not expected to pass the Senate and the President announced he will veto.    However, we want to make sure we highlight the effects of this decision on the Division of Viral Hepatitis’ $10 million increase from the PPHF expected in FY2012. Let Oscar know if you have not seen letter and he will send to you.  
  •  Finally, in terms of the Appropriations bills, the Senate is expected to have a bill written by June but no word of a markup. House we have not heard much yet, except that Rehberg said he will not write a bill until after a until Supreme Court decision is submitted. Overall, we can expect that Labor-HHS appropriations will be part of a larger package, probably after elections are over.

HCV Testing Guidelines/USPSTF  – Michael Ninburg

  • Not much more to report since last call.  Talked to Kevin Fenton about hope to get draft of screening guidelines update on agenda for the CHAC meeting on 5/8.  But as of today it is not on agenda.  The draft will be released this month - we hope before National Testing Day on 5/19.  Comment period for draft guidelines will likely be only two weeks.  Comments should be submitted by first week of June.  Now is a good time to get the word out and drafting letters to editor’s etc. 
  • Briefing on the Hill on May 17th at 10 a.m. , which will give another opportunity for people to weigh in and get information.  If you are in DC please show up.

NVHR Comments to CMS on Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Incentive Program Stage II – Emily Graham 

  • There is a significant opportunity for better collaboration on viral hepatitis treatment, prevention and care through the meaningful use of electronic health records,
  • NVHR is supportive of the proposed objectives and measures related to public and population health to the extent they will help further viral hepatitis treatment, prevention and care and we encourage CMS to finalize its proposal, and
  • ·         NVHR is supportive of the 4 NQF endorsed clinical quality measures that CMS is proposing to include in the program, and that we encourage CMS to finalize those in the final rule.

First ever National Hepatitis Testing Day is May 19th.