AMA Considers Part B Demo, Opioids at Annual Meeting

While the American Medical Association (AMA) was already on record in support of the withdrawal of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Part B Drug Payment Model demonstration, the organization approved a resolution to “support and actively work to advance Congressional action to block the proposed Part B Drug Payment Model” during their annual meeting last week. The AMA also adopted new policies in regard to opioid drugs. They will work to expand access to naloxone, and encourage doctors to co-prescribe the overdose reversal drug when prescribing opioid painkillers. Additionally, the AMA will encourage insurers to expand coverage of non-opioid and non-drug pain treatments, and will work to disconnect the link between Medicare payments and how patients feel their pain was managed.

GAO Reports Indicate Need for 21st Century Cures

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released separate reports last week highlighting improvements that need to be made at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The first report finds that the agency is not measuring whether progress is being made in regulatory science, nor did it track the $504 million spent on regulatory science between fiscal years (FY) 2010 and 2014. The GAO recommends developing and documenting measurable goals and the tracking of funding across the FDA’s regulatory science priorities. The second report reveals gaps in the agency’s strategic plan for oversight of new products. The GAO recommends engaging in strategic planning across each of the FDA’s medical product centers. The reports were highlighted by leadership on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee as indicative of the need for legislation like the 21st Century Cures Act/Senate Innovations package to help the FDA keep pace with medical innovation.

Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health field hearing titled “Access and Accountability: Examining Obstacles to High Quality Patient Care in Louisiana;” 3:00 p.m., Pineville City Council Chambers, Pineville City Hall, 910 Main Street, Pineville, LA 71360; June 20

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights hearing “The CREATES Act: Ending Regulatory Abuse, Protecting Consumers, and Ensuring Drug Price Competition;” 2:00 p.m. 226 Dirksen; June 21

Senate Special Aging Committee hearing titled “The Right Care at the Right Time: Ensuring Person-Centered Care for Individuals With Serious Illness;” 11:00 a.m., 562 Dirksen Bldg.; June 23

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing “Strengthening our National Trauma System;” 9:15 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; June 24

Senate Appropriations Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing to examine a review of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health record (VistA), progress toward interoperability with the Department of Defense’s electronic health record, and plans for the future; 10:30 a.m., 124 Dirksen Bldg.; July 13

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