Senate Passes CHRONIC Care Act

The Senate unanimously passed S. 870, the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017. The bill would extend the Independence at Home (IAH) program and includes provisions to expand the use of telehealth among patients receiving dialysis or those who may be having a stroke. It would also provide flexibility to Medicare Advantage (MA) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to improve their ability to serve those with chronic illness. The bill was the product of a bipartisan chronic care working group in the Senate Finance Committee led by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are strongly encouraging the House of Representatives to pass the measure.

Senate Budget Resolution Includes Rules Change

The Senate released its budget resolution on Friday. The resolution would eliminate a rule that has been in place since 2015 that requires a 28-hour waiting period between the release of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score and voting on a bill. The rule has only applied to committee-passed legislation and not bills sent directly to the Senate floor. The fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution keeps intact the requirement for a CBO score prior to a floor vote. The draft resolution will be voted on by committee this week, with a floor vote planned for later in the month.

Corker to Retire in 2018

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced that he will not be running for reelection in 2018. Corker is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and is currently in his second term. He is the first senator to announce his retirement plans this Congress. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has stated that she is considering a run for Corker’s seat.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on “Examining Patient Access to Investigational Drugs;” 10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; October 3

House Oversight and Government Reform Information Technology Subcommittee hearing on “Cybersecurity of the Internet of Things;” 2:00 p.m., 2247 Rayburn Bldg.; October 3

House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of bill to extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and important public health programs; time and place TBD; October 4

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on The Federal Response to the Opioid Crisis; 10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; October 5

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.R.3826 (introduced by Rep. Lois Frankel): To amend title XXVIII of the Public Health Service Act to establish a National Advisory Committee on Seniors and Disasters; Energy and Commerce

H.R.3820 (introduced by Rep. Patrick Meehan): To permit occupational therapists to conduct the initial assessment visit and complete the comprehensive assessment under a Medicare home health plan of care for certain rehabilitation cases; Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce

H.Res.533 (introduced by Rep. Michael C. Burgess): Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2824) to amend title V of the Social Security Act to extend the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2792) to amend the Social Security Act to make certain revisions to provisions limiting payment of benefits to fugitive felons under titles II, VIII, and XVI of the Social Security Act; and for other purposes; Rules

S.1850 (introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin, III (D-WV): A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to protect the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

H.R.3842 (introduced by Rep. Tim Ryan): To amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the Healthy Start for Infants Program; Energy and Commerce

H.R.3832 (introduced by Rep. Neal P. Dunn): To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the executive director of a national network of State-based prescription monitoring programs under which Department of Veterans Affairs health care providers shall query such network, and for other purposes; Veterans’ Affairs

H.Res.539 (introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee): Calling for sickle-cell trait research, surveillance, and public education and awareness; Energy and Commerce

H.Con.Res.80 (introduced by Rep. Brad R. Wenstrup): Expressing the sense of the Congress that assisted suicide (sometimes referred to as death with dignity, end-of-life options, aid-in-dying, or similar phrases) puts everyone, including those most vulnerable, at risk of deadly harm and undermines the integrity of the health care system; Energy and Commerce

S.1859 (introduced by Sen. Cory Gardner): A bill to extend the moratorium on the annual fee on health insurance providers; Finance

H.Res.542 (introduced by Rep. Eliot L. Engel): Expressing support for designation of the week of October 1 through 7, 2017, as “Latex Allergy Awareness Week”; Oversight and Government Reform

S.1871 (introduced by Sen. Bill Cassidy): A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify the role of podiatrists in the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes; Veterans’ Affairs

S.1873 (introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal): A bill to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a program to establish peer specialists in patient aligned care teams at medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes; Veterans’ Affairs

S.1879 (introduced by Sen. John Barrasso): A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for the coverage of marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services under part B of the Medicare program, and for other purposes; Finance

S.Res.269 (introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez): A resolution designating September 2017 as “National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month”; submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent

H.R.3862 (introduced by Rep. G.K. Butterfield): To amend the Public Health Service Act to extend funding for the National Health Service Corps program; Energy and Commerce

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