Medicaid Screening Program

CMS announced that, from May 30 through October, the agency will be sponsoring a “Provider Screening Innovator Challenge” to induce private sector software vendors to develop Medicaid provider screening applications to help reduce fraud and abuse.

NIH Issues

NIH Director Francis Collins announced that the the National Institutes of Health Pain Consortium has designated 11 health professional schools as Centers of Excellence in Pain Education which will serve as hubs for the development, evaluation and distribution of pain-management curriculum resources for medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy schools.  He said “These new centers will translate current research findings about pain management to fill what have been recognized as gaps in curricula so clinicians in all fields can work with their patients to make better and safer choices about pain treatment.”

CMS Actuaries Provide New Medicare Projections

The CMS Office of the Actuary released a new set of projections on future Medicare spending which differ from the projections released earlier under the 2012 Medicare Trustee Reports.  Stating that the Trustee report projections are unrealistic, e.g. because it was assumed the 31% reduction in physician payment rates would not be waived as has always been the case in the past, the OA said that (1) Medicare Part B costs will increase to 1.87% of GDP by 2020 and 3.58% of GDP by 2080 (assuming SGR cuts are prevented) in contrast to the increases under the Trustee report (i.e. costs increasing to 1.65% of GDP by 2020 and 2.52% of GDP by 2080); and (2) Medicare Part A costs will increase to 9.9% of GDP in 2085 which is 3.6 percentage points higher than shown under the Trustees’ report.

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

S. 3212 (PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION PATIENT INFORMATION), to require the secretary of health and human services to promulgate regulations regarding the authorship, content, format, and dissemination of patient medication information to ensure patients receive consistent and high-quality information about their prescription medications and are aware of the potential risks and benefits of prescription medications; GILLIBRAND; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, May 22.

H.R. 5853 (DRUGS), to prohibit wholesalers from purchasing prescription drugs from pharmacies, and to enhance information and transparency regarding drug wholesalers engaged in interstate commerce; CUMMINGS; to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, May 22.

S. 3226 (TAXATION), to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide an income tax credit for eldercare expenses; KLOBUCHAR; to the Committee on Finance, May 23.

S. 3229 (LONG-TERM CARE), to develop a model disclosure form to assist consumers in purchasing long-term care insurance; KLOBUCHAR; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, May 23.

S. 3230 (LONG-TERM CARE), to require issuers of long-term care insurance to establish third-party review processes for disputed claims; KLOBUCHAR; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, May 23.

S. 3232 (REFORM), to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to extend, expand, and improve the qualifying therapeutic discovery project program; MENENDEZ; to the Committee on Finance, May 23.

S. 3237 (BREAST CANCER), to provide for the establishment of the Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer; WHITEHOUSE; to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, May 24.

S. 3242 (MEDICARE), to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide Medicare beneficiaries coordinated care and greater choice with regard to accessing hearing health services and benefits; MENENDEZ; to the Committee on Finance, May 24.

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