Collins to Stay at NIH

The White House has decided to keep Francis Collins in his position as director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Collins, a physician-geneticist, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to lead the agency in 2009. He is on track to be one of the longest serving NIH directors since World War II.

Burgess Weighs in on CHIP

During a media briefing last week, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Michael Burgess (R-Texas) expressed support for a two year funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Funding for the program expires on September 30, and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) recommended renewing funding for the program for five years, through 2022. Rep. Burgess stated that he would prefer aligning CHIP funding with the program’s authorization. The Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on CHIP on June 14.

Cybersecurity Report Released

The Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force released a report last week asserting that improved cybersecurity protections are needed for medical devices and health information technology. The public-private task force includes representatives from both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and was created by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015. The report recommends increased information sharing between the public and private sector on cyber-risks. The Task Force also supports the creation of exceptions to health care anti-fraud laws to allow health care organizations aid physicians in the purchase of cybersecurity software.

Puerto Rico Declares End of Zika Epidemic

The Puerto Rico Department of Health has officially declared that the 2016 Zika epidemic is over. Only approximately 10 cases have been reported in each four-week period since April 2017, down from the more than 8,000 cases reported during the same time period around August 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will continue to collaborate with Puerto Rico to report Zika virus cases going forward.

Trump Administration Update

The President has nominated Robert Charrow as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Charrow served as deputy general counsel and later principal deputy general counsel for HHS during the Reagan administration. He is currently with the Greenberg Taurig law firm. Bruce Greenstein has been tapped as the chief technology officer for HHS. He has previously worked as secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals. Valerie Huber was named as chief of staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). She has been the leader of the National Abstinence Education Association, now known as Ascend, since 2007. The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the nomination of Makan Delrahim to be the Justice Department antitrust chief by a vote of 19- 1. If he is confirmed, Delrahim will take the lead in overseeing an investigation into generic drug price fixing.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing titled “Promoting Security in Wireless Technology;” 10:00 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; June 13

Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on “President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2018 for the Department of State;” 10:00 a.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.; June 13

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing titled “The Cost of Prescription Drugs: How the Drug Delivery System Affects What Patients Pay;” 10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; June 13 House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing titled “FY 2018 Foreign Affairs Budget;” 9:00 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.; June 14

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing “Examining the Extension of Safety Net Health Programs;” 10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; June 14

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to “Examine the President’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2018 for veterans’ programs and fiscal year 2019 advance appropriations requests;” 2:30 p.m., 428 Russell Bldg.; June 14

Senate Aging Committee hearing to “Examine military caregivers, focusing on families serving for the long run;” 2:30 p.m., 106 Dirksen Bldg.; June 14

House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Research and Technology Joint Hearing titled “Bolstering the Government’s Cybersecurity: Lessons Learned from WannaCry;” 10:00 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.; June 15

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies hearing to Examine proposed budget estimates and justification for fiscal year 2018 for the Department of Health and Human Services;” 10:00 a.m., 138 Dirksen Bldg.; June 15

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing to examine a number of bills including S.758, to amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s review and publication of illness and conditions relating to veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and their family members; 11:00 a.m., 418 Russell Bldg.; June 15

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