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Daily News

June 25, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday (June 25) updated its list of underlying health conditions that might increase a person’s risk of complications from COVID-19.

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The former head of the Strategic National Stockpile said the federal government can’t efficiently manage the medical product inventory in the stockpile because there isn’t enough transparency in the supply chain, and he urged Congress to step in.

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Nursing homes will resume submitting staffing data to CMS by Aug. 14, but quality star ratings will carry over from the last quarter of 2019, the department said in a memo released Thursday (June 25).

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The Trump administration clarified this week that insurers will not have to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing conducted for broader purposes such as return to work screenings, but it left the broader question of who will be responsible for those costs unanswered.

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The American Medical Association calls the health insurance industry’s prior authorization process reforms a failure after more than half of providers surveyed said the paperwork burden has increased in the last five years, and the physician lobby now wants Congress to step in.

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The European Union’s medicines committee on Thursday (June 25) recommended granting a conditional marketing agreement for Gilead’s remdesivir to treat COVID-19 in adults and adolescents.

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The government should use “domestic reference prices” to set new drug prices, then drug companies could use value-based analysis to argue for higher prices, according to a Health Affairs article by two West Health Policy Center executives.

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The new head of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute said the quasi-governmental organization will write a plan for researching the impact of drug costs on patients within “the next several months,” but she stressed that PCORI is still banned from researching the fairness of drug prices.

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HHS on Monday (June 22) paid another $102 million for convalescent plasma out of $500 million that’s been set aside for the blood product, and FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the agency is considering authorizing emergency use of the product to treat COVID-19 patients.

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June 24, 2020

Lawmakers are upset that federally supported test sites are set to close soon, but HHS officials said the federal government is simply transferring control to states.

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Dialysis Patient Citizens sued CMS over its decision to let Medicare Advantage plans attest to having dialysis available in their networks rather than requiring specific time and distance standards for outpatient dialysis centers -- a decision the patient advocate group says discriminates against end-stage renal disease patients and was finalized without stakeholders knowing it was an imminent proposal.

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Democrats will vote Monday (June 29) on House Democrats’ bill to enhance the Affordable Care Act by boosting the law’s tax credits, reverse Trump administration rules seen as undermining the law and encourage states to take up the Medicaid expansion.

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FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Wednesday (June 24) told international leaders that he would like to see FDA make permanent some of the data-sharing strategies and product review processes that it put in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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FDA and USDA released a joint statement Wednesday (June 24) stating there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from food or food packaging following China’s move to suspend poultry imports from a Tyson Foods processing plant in Arkansas that saw large COVID-19 outbreaks in its workforce.

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The American Hospital Association plans to appeal a federal judge’s decision Tuesday (June 23) to let the Trump administration proceed with its controversial hospital price transparency rule.

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FDA chief Stephen Hahn said the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the need for increased use of real-world evidence to help regulators make decisions in real time, and he asked Congress to provide more support for advancing generation of RWE.

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As millions of people are losing their jobs and health insurance coverage amid the economic crisis, Center for American Progress Vice President for Health Policy Topher Spiro is floating a new proposal that would let states enroll their unemployed population in Medicaid or increase the eligible threshold to families earning up to 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL).

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States are exploring a variety of unique ways to spend the CARES Act funding, going beyond directly helping businesses and the homeless to increasing trash capacity and digitalizing museums’ artifacts, Inside Health Policy has learned.

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June 23, 2020

A federal judge on Tuesday (June 23) ruled the Trump administration can proceed with its controversial mandate that hospitals publish negotiated rates, rejecting the American Hospital Association’s call for the court to scrap CMS’ hospital price transparency rule that is expected to go into effect in 2021.

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Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force told lawmakers that no one in the Trump administration directed them to scale back coronavirus testing, even though the president said repeatedly that he’d like the United States to slow down testing.

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