Trump Signs One-Week CR Spending Bill

On Dec. 11, President Trump signed a continuing resolution to give Congress an additional week to come up with full-year spending legislation and avoid a government shutdown. The CR sets a new funding deadline of Dec. 18. The House passed the bill 343-67, and Senate passed the bill by voice vote.

FDA Announces It Will Quickly Authorize Pfizer Vaccine

On Dec. 11, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Operation Warp Speed and Pfizer that it is working to quickly finalize and issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement followed the FDA advisory panel’s endorsement of the vaccine the same week. It is unclear whether the EUA will be for people ages 16 and up, as it is in the United Kingdom and Canada, or whether FDA will heed concerns from some of its advisors and change the minimum age to 18. The vaccine has not been tested in 16-year-olds but FDA says it is biologically reasonable to assume that its effectiveness in 16- and 17-year-olds will be similar to the vaccine’s effectiveness in younger adults.

CMS Releases Information on the Best Practices for Designing and Implementing Substance Use Disorder (SUD)-Focused Health Homes

On Dec. 10, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a new resource for states to utilize in their Medicaid programs when considering a substance use disorder (SUD)-focused health home program to care for their beneficiaries. Specifically, this resource provides a description of the best practices for designing and implementing a SUD-focused health home state plan amendment based on the experiences of states with approved SUD-focused health home programs, as required per section 1006(a)(2) of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act. Find more information here.

Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.