HHS Standing Committee Newsletter | Oct. 20 Edition

10/20/2020

HHS Newsletter

From Congress

Democratic Senators Send Letter on FDA and CDC COVID-19 Responses | Oct. 8, 2020

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Maine), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Gary Peters (D- Mich.) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an investigation into the administration’s potential influence over COVID-19 responses by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The letter was sent to the GAO following reports that the administration’s interactions with the agencies could have resulted in public confusion and distrust on health information regarding COVID-19.

Republican Committee Leaders Request 340B Program Feedback | Oct. 9, 2020

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Andrew Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) have called for stakeholder input on how to best improve the 340B drug pricing program. The leaders see the program being overdue for improvements. Comments and feedback are due by Oct. 30, 2020, to 340B@help.senate.gov and 340B@mail.house.gov.

Congress Passes Law to Create Universal National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline | Oct. 17, 2020

A new law requires the Federal Communications Commission to create a 988 nationwide suicide and mental health hotline. The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Veterans Affairs are jointly responsible for reporting how to make the hotline operational and effective across the country.

From the Administration

Administration of Children and Families Awards $30 Million in New Grant Funding for Runaway and Homeless Shelter and Supportive Services | October 2020

Grants were awarded to 158 community-based organizations and will allow recipients to provide services and supports for runaway and homeless youth. Read more.

CDC Releases 5-Year Strategic Vision for Violence Prevention | October 2020

The department’s Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) announced its new vision for 2020-24. Priorities include increasing the number of individuals receiving preventive services to reduce violence, reducing adverse childhood experiences and expanding an understanding of how to prevent firearm-related injuries and deaths. The DVP is also working to develop an implementation plan that will outline the steps needed to achieve these priorities.

COVID-19 Health Care Resilience Working Group Publishes Resources | October 2020

The resources include considerations for crisis standards of care in post-acute and long-term care facilities. Materials were put together in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and long-term acute care hospitals among others serving older individuals or those with intellectual disabilities, or both.

National Health Literacy Month | October 2020

October is National Health Literacy Month. The HHS Office of Minority Health’s Think Cultural Health website provides information on how to ensure that health communication effectively considers the cultural, health literacy and language needs across populations.

HHS Announces $20 Billion Available in Phase 3 of COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund | Oct. 1, 2020

In the third round of funding from the Provider Relief Fund, providers who have already received funds are eligible to apply for funding that will take into consideration additional financial losses and changes in operating expenses due to COVID-19. Providers who were not eligible in previous funding, including behavioral health providers, are also eligible to apply. Applications open on Oct. 5, 2020.

Executive Order Signed for Mental and Behavioral Health Needs | Oct. 5, 2020

The order establishes a Coronavirus Mental Health Working Group across several federal agencies and requires them to consult with the Office of Management and Budget on existing grant programs that help states enhance mental health and suicide prevention services. The order is in response to increased mental health issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

USDA Extends Free Meals Through End of School Year | Oct. 9, 2020

The department announced it is extending numerous regulatory waivers allowing schools and other organizations to serve universal free meals through June 2021. Congress’ recent stopgap spending bill, HR 8337 (116), gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture the authority and funds to extend the waivers. The extensions will apply to the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Supper Options through June 30, 2021. To learn what these extensions mean for schools and community programs, read more from NCSL partner No Kid Hungry.

HHS Proposed Rule on Life-Saving Medications Comments Deadline | Oct. 28, 2020

The proposed rule would implement an executive order that requires the HHS award recipients participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program to provide low-cost access to insulin and injectable epinephrine to low-income patientsComments on the proposed rule are due by Oct. 28, 2020.

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