This week in Washington: HHS and CMS nominations move forward.


Representatives Ask HHS Secretary Becerra to Extend Deadline to Spend COVID-19 Provider Relief Funds
In a May 11 letter, 77 representatives sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra stating their concern that existing program requirements limit providers from making full use of COVID-19 relief. They asked Becerra to extend the deadline to spend provider relief funds and expedite distribution of the remaining COVID-19 relief. The letter can be found here.

Bipartisan Bill to Protect 340B Eligibility for Hospitals Introduced
On May 13, Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Cindy Axne (D-IA), David McKinley (R-WV), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced a bill to protect hospitals from losing eligibility for the 340B drug pricing program during the COVID-19 public health emergency. A press release from Matsui’s office can be found here.

Bipartisan Bill to Curb Youth Vaping Reintroduced
On May 13, Reps. David Trone (D-MD), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Chris Steward (R-UT) reintroduced the Accurate Reporting of Smoking Variants Act. The bill would require the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to ensure that electronic health records (EHRs) allow doctors to record vaping and e-cigarette use, understand the long-term impacts of these products and develop strategies to curb vaping among young people. The bill text can be found here.

13 Health Care Bills Passed the House This Week
This past week, the House passed 13 health care bills. The bills are listed and linked below.

  • H.R. 433, the Family Support Services for Addiction Act
  • H.R. 1475, the Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act
  • H.R. 586, the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act
  • H.R. 721, the Mental Health Services for Students Act
  • H.R. 1260, the Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act
  • H.R. 1205, Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act
  • H.R. 1324, the Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act
  • H.R. 1480, the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome (HERO) Act
  • H.R. 2862, the Campaign to Prevent Suicide Act
  • H.R. 2981, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act
  • H.R. 2955, the Suicide Prevention Act
  • H.R. 768, the Block, Report, and Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act
  • H.R. 2877, Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act

A joint statement from Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Health Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo (D-CA) about the above bills can be found here.


Brooks-LaSure’s Nomination for CMS Administrator Advances Out of Finance Committee
On May 12, the Senate voted 51 to 48 to advance the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure for administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) after majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made a motion to discharge her nomination from the Finance Committee. Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) joined Democrats in supporting the motion. Next, Sen. Schumer will need to file cloture to limit floor debate on the confirmation. If the Senate passes cloture, Brooks-LaSure’s nomination will go before the full Senate for a final vote. A simple majority is needed to confirm both the cloture and the nomination.

Andrea Palm Confirmed as HHS Deputy Secretary
On May 11, the Senate voted 61-37 to confirm Andrea Palm as deputy secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Palm previously served as Wisconsin’s top health official.

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