AAHC supports the interests of member institutions at the Federal Government level, including the Administration and Federal agencies and the Congress. Our goal is to represent academic health centers at the strategic level of policy discussions and to complement and supplement our members’ Washington, DC- based government relations programs.
July 6, 2017
Weekly Top News: Energy & Commerce Mark Up Public Health Bills
Last week, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a markup session to review four bipartisan bills to advance public health and, by extension, communities served by academic health centers. The Subcommittee considered: H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, which would require the CDC to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters; H.R. 880, the Military Injury Surgical Systems Integrated Operationally Nationwide to Achieve ZERO preventative Deaths (MISSION ZERO) Act, which would establish a grant program for military-civilian partnerships in trauma care benefiting both sectors from the others’ expertise and experience; H.R. 767, the SOAR to Health and Wellness Act of 2017, which would direct HHS to establish a pilot program to train healthcare providers to identify potential human trafficking victims, and work with law enforcement and assist victims (“SOAR” refers to Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond); and H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health (ADH) Act of 2017, which would allow grants for obtaining portable or mobile dental equipment, and pay for appropriate operational costs for the provision of free dental services to underserved populations.
June 29, 2017
Weekly Top News: AAHC Joins Supreme Court Amicus Brief on Travel Ban
AAHC joined the Association of American Medical Colleges and more than twenty allied organizations in submitting an amicus (i.e., “friend of the court”) brief to the Supreme Court regarding the detrimental impact of Executive Order 13,780--the Administration’s travel ban--on the U.S. healthcare system, which relies upon a significant number of health professionals and scientists who have entered this country through our immigration system. Although they do not hold U.S. citizenship, these health professionals make substantial contributions to improved healthcare quality and access, and help address our nation’s health professions shortages.
June 29, 2017
Weekly Top News: AAHC Joins Allied Organizations in Support for Titles VII & VIII Programs
This week, AAHC co-signed a Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) letter to Congressional Appropriations Committees requesting $580 million in FY2018 for the Title VII health professions and Title VIII nursing workforce development programs. More than 40 national organizations cosigning the letter also recommended inclusion of funding for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program.
June 22, 2017
Weekly Top News: Energy & Commerce Hearing on the Extension of Safety Net Health Programs
This week the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to review the extension of two federal safety net health programs that provide health care and coverage for low-income adults and children. The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, MD (R-TX), will consider the extensions of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF) both of which are set to expire on September 30, 2017.
June 15, 2017
Weekly Top News: House FDA Reauthorization/User Fee Bill Advances
The Energy and Commerce Committee last week unanimously approved the FDA Reauthorization Act (“FDARA”) that reauthorizes the FDA user fee program upon which the agency is dependent for funding staff costs for approximately 5,000 of its employees. The Committee approved an amendment to allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter, and additional language to support the combating of increasing drug prices. Additional information on the House markup hearing can be found here.
June 8, 2017
Weekly Top News: Energy & Commerce Hearing on HHS’ Role in Cybersecurity
This week, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing entitled, “Examining the Role of the Department of Health and Human Services in Health Care Cybersecurity.” Chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), the hearing reviewed HHS’ role with respect to cybersecurity within the healthcare sector and builds on the Subcommittee’s April hearing that examined the role of public-private partnerships for cybersecurity in the sector, as well as HHS’s role in this effort.
June 1, 2017
Weekly Top News: Energy & Commerce Hearing on Zika Virus Response
Last week, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to review the U.S. public health response to the Zika virus. Following up on its hearing on the same topic in March of last year--when the Committee heard testimony about the emergence of the virus across the Americas, the potential link between Zika and other illnesses, and the public health plan to respond to the virus--this year’s hearing examined lessons learned from the federal government’s response to the initial spread of the Zika virus and advancements made in the past year, including vaccine and diagnostic test development. In addition, the Committee reviewed the findings and recommendations from the recently-released Government Accounting Office report, entitled “Emerging Infectious Diseases; Actions Needed to Address the Challenges of Responding to Zika Virus Disease Outbreaks.”
May 25, 2017
Weekly Top News: Energy & Commerce Hearing on Public Health Bills
Last week, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to review four bipartisan bills to advance public health. The Subcommittee considered: H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, which would require the CDC to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters; H.R. 1876, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2017, which is meant to limit the liability of healthcare professionals who volunteer to provide healthcare services in response to federally-declared disasters; H.R. 767, the SOAR to Health and Wellness Act of 2017, which would direct HHS to establish a pilot program to train healthcare providers to identify potential human trafficking victims, and work with law enforcement and assist victims (“SOAR” refers to Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond); and H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health (ADH) Act of 2017, which would allow grants for obtaining portable or mobile dental equipment, and pay for appropriate operational costs for the provision of free dental services to underserved populations. It would also promote the development and expansion of outreach programs that facilitate establishing dental homes for children and adults, including the elderly, blind, and disabled.
May 11, 2017
Weekly Top News: NIH Funding Restored in Latest Budget
Last week, the Senate and House passed the FY2017 omnibus appropriations bills, providing funding between now and the end of this fiscal year. To the relief of many, the legislation included an additional $2 billion for the NIH, amounting to a $3.2 billion increase over the White House recommendations for 2017 and $7.8 billion more than it proposed for 2018. Included in this funding is an additional $400 million for Alzheimer’s research and an additional $476 million for the National Cancer Institute. Funding for the Precision Medicine Initiative, established under President Obama, increased by $120 million; and the BRAIN Initiative for research involving mapping of the human brain received an extra $110 million.
May 4, 2017
Weekly Top News: Energy and Commerce Hearings on Medicaid Waste and Medical Devices
The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing this week entitled “Combating Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Medicaid’s Personal Care Services Program.” This hearing was intended to follow up on reports released over the last few months from the Government Accounting Office and HHS exposing fraud schemes, lack of program integrity, and general program mismanagement. Witnesses include Katherine Iritani, director, Health Care, GAO; Christi Grimm, chief of staff, HHS OIG; and Timothy Hill, deputy director of Medicaid and CHIP at CMS. The GAO report can be found here. The HHS report can be found here.
April 27, 2017
Weekly Top News: Opioid Grants from 21st Century Cures Underway
HHS announced this week the first round of grants flowing from the 21st Century Cures legislation passed during the previous legislative session, in which funding was allocated to assist with prevention and treatment of opioid addiction at the state level. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is administering a total of $485 million in grants under this funding allocation. One of the first recipients was the state of Massachusetts, receiving almost $12 million.
April 20, 2017
Weekly Top News: New Bipartisan FDA User Fee Bill; Opioid Restriction Legislation
Last Friday the Senate Health Energy Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee released their initial draft bipartisan bills to reauthorize the FDA’s user fee programs. The five-year reauthorization would run from fiscal years 2018 through 2022, and in the first year, it is anticipated that approximately $870 million would be captured in prescription drug fees, $494 million in generic drug fees, $183 million for medical devices and $45 million for biosimilars.