HHS Standing Committee Newsletter | Sept. 14 Edition

9/14/2020

HHS Newsletter

From Congress

House Ways and Means Majority Members Release Report on Discrimination and the Child Welfare System | Aug. 19, 2020.  The report, “Children at Risk: The Trump Administration Waiver of Foster Care Nondiscrimination Requirements,” examines a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) waiver granted to South Carolina allowing agencies that receive federal funding to prohibit individuals from fostering or adopting children based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and religion.

From the Administration

HHS Awards Grants to States and Tribes to Prevent and Treat Substance Use Disorders | August 2020. HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration distributed funds from the first year of its two-year State Opioid Response and Tribal Opioid Response grant programs, that will award a total of nearly $3 billion over two years. Grants will be used for state and tribal prevention, treatment and recovery services for opioid use disorder and/or stimulant use disorders.

National Indian Health Board and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Launch Resource Hub | August 2020. The hub focuses on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Many tribal individuals and their communities are impacted by ACEs, which can cause physical and mental health challenges throughout a person's lifetime. The hub provides background information on ACEs, assessments, success stories, trainings, and resources tailored to American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

Assisted Living Facilities Now Eligible for COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund | August 2020. The HHS made the announcement that assisted living facilities may now apply for funding through the Provider Relief Fund Phase 2 General Distributions allocation. Provider have until Sept. 13 to begin their application.

CDC Releases Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report | Aug. 21, 2020. The CDC released its report, which includes articles related to interpersonal violence victimization, suicidal ideation and behaviors, transportation risk behaviors, prescription opioid misuse, and use of alcohol and other substances.

USDA Extends Waivers | Aug. 21, 2020. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) extended four waivers through Sept. 30, 2020, supporting continued summer meals programs in areas where school begins in September. The extended waivers were set to expire on Aug. 31 and could have created a gap for schools that started after that date. The waivers do not change options already available to schools and nonprofit organizations where school has already started.

Funding for Children’s Hospitals Announced | Aug. 14, 2020. The HHS and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced $1.4 billion in targeted funding to 80 free-standing children’s hospitals. Funding is made possible through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program and the Health Care Enhancement Act. Children’s hospitals suspended non-emergency and elective services, purchased additional personal protective equipment and provided their facilities to other hospitals as backup support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Funding will be allocated to children’s hospitals not affiliated with larger hospital systems.

Children’s Bureau Releases Annual Report on Adoption and Foster Care | Aug. 24, 2020. The bureau released the 27th annual Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System report that examined data from 2019. The report found that the overall number of children in care fell by 2.5% and the number of children entering foster care fell by 4.4%, among several other findings.

New Child Welfare Prevention Services Clearinghouse Ratings Released | August 2020. The Title-IV Prevention Services Clearinghouse released ratings for an additional 13 programs. Of those 13 programs, six did not meet current criteria, five were “promising,” two were “supported” and none of the programs met the “well-supported” rating.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Issues Regulatory Changes for Nursing Homes | Aug. 25, 2020. The new regulatory changes for nursing homes require facilities to test staff and offer testing to residents for COVID-19. This will also apply to laboratories and nursing homes using point-of-care testing devices to report diagnostic test results. Hospitals will also have to provide COVID-19 cases and related data to HHS. Nursing homes not following the new testing requirements will be cited for noncompliance and could face penalties of $400 per day. Read more.

HRSA Announces New Funding | Aug. 31, 2020. Approximately $35 million has been awarded by the HRSA to more than 50 rural organizations across 33 states to increase access to care in rural communities. Awards will be distributed in many areas, including telehealth, health workforce training and technical assistance. The agency also awarded $117 million in quality improvement awards to 1,318 health centers across states, territories and the District of Columbia. Awards recognize the highest-performing health centers nationwide and those that have made significant quality improvements since last year.

From the Courts

U.S. Government Sues Teva Pharmaceutical Industries | Aug. 18, 2020. The lawsuit claims the drugmaker violated anti-kickback laws by paying $300 million to third-party foundations to help cover Medicare co-pays for patients using Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Boston.

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NCSL Staff Interviewed on Change Healthcare’s Podcast, “Tracking Pandemic Recovery By State.”