HHS Standing Committee Newsletter | May 6 Edition


HHS Newsletter

From Congress

House Introduces Prescription Drug Costs Bill | April 29, 2021 

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Representative Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and other members are offering a legislative package looking to reduce prescription drug costs. The bills targets prescription drug generics, biosimilars, and patent extensions for updated versions of drugs among other factors impacting prescription drug costs.   

Senate Approves Extension of Fentanyl Analogues Ban | April 29, 2021 

Passed on a voice vote, the ban on fentanyl analogues will continue until Oct. 22, 2021. The drug is temporarily classified as a Schedule I substance and was set to expire on May 6. The bill previously passed the House and has been sent to the president for his signature. 

Senate HELP Committee Prepares for Pandemic Preparedness Systems | April 29, 2021 

Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) released a “dear colleague” letter outlining their plans to build upon the nation’s pandemic preparedness. As chair and ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee they are looking to work on several legislative issues including ensuring sufficient public health and medical capacity to provide critical services to at-risk populations, modernizing federal public health services, strengthening medical countermeasure readiness and improving and securing the U.S. medical supply chain. 

From the Administration

42 CFR Part 2 Statement Released | April 2021 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a statement on the 42 CFR part 2 amendments that are currently underway. The agency is working with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office for Civil Rights on a notice of proposed rulemaking to address changes that were made regarding the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records, required under the CARES Act of 2020. SAMHSA plans to publish the amendments later this year in the Federal Register and will seek public comments. Until new regulations are created, the current 42 CFR part 2 regulations remain in effect. 

 The Administration of Children and Families (ACF) Releases Child Care Funding | April 14, 2021  

The American Rescue Plan Act included $39 billion in child care funds between the Child Care Stabilization Grants and the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This week, the ACF released $24 billion in Child Care Stabilization Grants and $15 billion in CCDBG funding. Read the state allocations here.  

 ACF Releases Guidance on Child Care and Development Funds (CCDF) | April 14, 2021  

The ACF’s released new guidance related to the CCDF discretionary funds that were appropriated through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations that was signed into law at the end of 2020. The guidance provides additional information to states, territories and tribes so they can quickly distribute funds to communities that need it the most. Read the full guidance here.  

 Funding from American Rescue Plan to Combat COVID-19 in Indian Country Announced | April 16, 2021 

The $4 billion in funding will help expand COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment, increase preventive health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives at higher risk for COVID-19, and expand hospitals and health clinics’ ability to serve their communities during the pandemic and in the future. It will also provide needed funding to make up for lost reimbursements that occurred during the pandemic. 

HHS Extends Public Health Emergency (PHE) | April 21, 2021 

The PHE renewal was effective April 21 and will remain in effect for 90 days through July 19. The HHS secretary may also extend the declaration for subsequent 90-day periods for as long as the emergency continues. The agency also previously indicated the declaration will go through the end of the calendar year. 

CMS Makes Grants Available to Navigators | April 21, 2021 

Navigators working in federal health insurance marketplaces for the 2022 health plan year will receive $80 million in grants. The funding will be used for outreach and education, with this year’s investment being the largest allocation the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made to Navigator grants since the program began. The department also released the 2021 Marketplace Open Enrollment report. 

New Buprenorphine Guidelines Released | April 27, 2021 

Among the new guidelines is the removal of a longtime requirement tied to training, which some medical providers have cited as a barrier to treating more people. The guidelines exempt eligible physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives from federal certification requirements related to training, counseling and other ancillary services that are a part of the process to obtain a waiver to treat up to 30 patients with buprenorphine

 Biden Unveils “The American Families Plan” | April 28, 2021  

President Joe Biden announced “The American families Plan” that seeks to provide relief and economic stability to children and families. The proposal includes efforts to provide affordable and quality child care, extending tax cuts for families with children, among other provisions.

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