HHS Standing Committee Newsletter | April 21 Edition


HHS Newsletter

From Congress

House Hearing on Substance Use in America | April 14, 2021 

The House Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce heard from senior White House officials, advocacy organizations, medical school experts, state’s attorney and emergency department directors, on how substance use and misuse has been impacted by the pandemic and highlighted ongoing issues. The committee also marked up several substance use and misuse bills.   

Hearing Held on COVID-19 in Native Communities | April 15, 2021 

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on the COVID-19 response in native communities and native health-care systems. Speakers from the Indian Health Service, the National Indian Health Board, the National Council of Urban Indian Health and the executive director of the Papa Ola Lokahi nation spoke on the challenges communities have faced and the health services needed going beyond the pandemic.   

House Ways and Means Holds Hearing on Paid Leave, Child Care and An Economy that Failed Women | April 21, 2021 

House Ways and Means will hold a hearing this week to examine the impacts of paid leave and child care on women in the workforce. This comes after the Biden administration announced their proposal for the American Jobs Plan, which includes a significant amount of funding to help bolster child care infrastructure citing that, the past year has “eroded more than 30 years of progress in women’s labor force participation” in part due to child care shortages.  

House Passes Legislation to Address Violence in Healthcare and Social Services Workplaces | April 16, 2021  

The legislation, HR 1195, seeks to address workplace violence in health care, social services and other sectors and would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a rule requiring health care and social services employers to implement violence prevention plans.  

From the Administration

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month | April 2021 

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and seeks to bring awareness to child abuse prevention and the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. As a part of this Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released their 2021/2022 Prevention Resources Guide.  

National Minority Health Month | April 2021 

April is National Minority Health Month with this year focusing on the impact COVID-19 is having on racial and ethnic minority, and American Indian and Alaska Native communities. There is also a #VaccineReady campaign that is being launched with the month as well. More information on the #VaccineReady campaign can be accessed here

HHS Releases Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act) Provider Relief Fund General Distribution FAQ | April 1, 2021 

The CARES Act was one of the first COVID-19 relief packages that passed Congress in April 2020. This FAQ provides additional information on the Provider Relief Funds that were appropriated through this legislative relief package. 

Nationwide Network Launched to Encourage Vaccination | April 1, 2021 

The HHS has launched the COVID-19 Community Corps that will work with doctors, community leaders and members, and businesses to mobilize and provide them with resources to help build vaccine confidence and uptake. Vice President Kamala Harris and Surgeon General Vivek Hallegere Murthy  met with founding members on April 1 to talk about the next phase of public education on these topics. The HHS will also be providing new social media profile frames for Americans to display their choice to get vaccinated and encourage friends and families to do the same. More than 2,500 organizations and citizens have signed up so far. 

 Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) Release Report | April 1, 2021 

The passage of the American Rescue Plan expanded eligibility for premium tax credits provided under the Affordable Care Act. The ASPE published an issue brief as part of a series that examines the availability of zero- and low-premium health plans in HealthCare.gov states.   

 Grant Funds Approved for Fentanyl Strips | April 7, 2021 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that certain federal funding may now be used to purchase rapid fentanyl test strips. Grantees that are receiving funds from the CDC’s Overdose Data to Action grant can purchase them, as well as those receiving the SAMHSA’s State Opioid Response grants

  Biden Releases Proposed Budget | April 9, 2021  

The proposed budget includes $769 in non-defense discretionary funding, an overall 16% increase over fiscal year 2021, with a 23% increase to the HHS. The proposals in the budget included several HHS-related items, including funding to address impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, racial inequities in the child welfare system, and more.  

 The Government Accountability Office (GAO) Releases COVID-19 Report | March 31, 2021 

The GAO report, “COVID-19: Sustained Federal Action Is Crucial as Pandemic Enters Its Second Year," reviews federal action in response to the pandemic, identifies ways that federal agencies can improve its response, and provides recommendations for change. As of January 2021, the GAO has made 44 recommendations to federal agencies and in this report, they include an additional 22, including recommendations around the HHS COVID-19 data, nursing home vaccination, insurance coverage and health care payments, and others.  

Spotlight on

  • The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors recently released a report on “An Overview of the Synar Provision: History, Impact of Tobacco 21 Legislation and Recommendations. The report examines the Synar provision of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act that was passed by Congress in 1992, which required states and territories to enact laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to individuals under the age of 18. In 2019 Congress enacted legislation to raise the minimum age from 18 to 21 and this report explores the impact of this legislation. 

NCSL Resources