Hospital groups are closely watching whether the next federal-funding deal includes a so-called Medicare extenders package—which is typically attached to year-end funding deals.

Feb. 1—The healthcare policy and finance development with the largest impact next week will likely involve the Feb. 8 federal-funding deadline.

On Jan. 22, President Donald Trump signed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through Feb. 8. The deal included six years of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program and a two-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA’s) medical device tax and so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost health plans. It also delayed the ACA’s tax on health insurers for one year, among other provisions. 

The outcome of the next funding deal has drawn close scrutiny from hospital advocates. For instance, America’s Essential Hospitals and the Association of American Medical Colleges joined 70 other organizations in writing a Jan. 29 letter that urged House and Senate leaders to reauthorize and fund a range of safety-net programs—known as Medicare extenders—as part of a funding deal leading up to the deadline.

Those programs and policies included the Community Health Center Fund, Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments, a Medicare therapy cap extension, the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program, and the Physician Fee Schedule geographic practice cost index (GPCI) parity policy.

Funding or authorization has lapsed for each program.

Monday, Feb. 5

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Safety Program for Improving Surgical Care and Recovery will conduct a webinar for hospitals about a collaborative program that seeks to enhance the recovery of surgical patients. Program participants will receive assistance in implementing perioperative evidence-based strategies to improve clinical outcomes, reduce hospital length of stay, and improve patient experiences. Learn more.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin accepting expressions of interest for a settlement option from appellants with fewer than 500 pending Medicare Part A and Part B claim appeals. They may be eligible to receive a timely partial payment of 62 percent of the net Medicare approved amount on total billed amounts of $9,000 or less per appeal. Learn more.

Running through Feb. 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold a series of meetings focused on adopting clinical guidelines for the "digital age." Officials will discuss how potential changes could affect clinicians, EHR vendors, and other stakeholders; how clinical guidelines will be adopted and distributed; and the development of an informatics framework for translating guidelines into different formats. Learn more.

CMS will hold a webinar for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Annual Call for Measures and Activities from 2:30 to 3:30 pm ET. The Annual Call for Measures and Activities process allows clinicians and organizations to identify and submit for consideration quality measures for the quality performance category, electronic health record measures for the advancing care information performance category, and activities for the improvement activities performance category. Register for MIPS webinar.

Tuesday, Feb. 6

The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee will hold a hearingtitled “The Opioid Crisis: Removing Barriers to Prevent and Treat Opioid Abuse and Dependence in Medicare,” at 3 p.m. ET.

The authors of research published in the February issue of Health Affairs will hold a briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., beginning at 9 am ET. Register here.

CMS will hold an online briefing on the electronic Clinical Quality Measure (eCQM) Reporting Tips and Tools for the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) and Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive programs from 2 to 3 pm ET. Register for the briefing.

Thursday, Feb 8

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Opioid Crisis: Impact on Children and Families” at 10 a.m. ET.

Publication Date: Thursday, February 01, 2018