Weekend Wrap-Up / Miscellany

  • The House last month approved an FDA appropriations bill (HR 3161) that would permit prescription drug reimportation from foreign countries. The White House has advised Congress that it would veto this bill because, among other reasons, the drug importation provisions threaten the safety of the U.S. drug supply. A friend reminded me yesterday about the deaths of over twenty Panamanians last year due to adulterated cough syrup imported from China. The White House has issued formal veto warnings, known as Statements of Administration Policy, about several appropriations bills, including the bill that funds the FEHB Program (H.R. 2989).
  • The House Committee on Small Business held a hearing on August 1 at which health care provider group representatives urged Congress to pass a federal prompt payment law that would define the meaning of the term “clean claim.” No insurance industry representatives testified at the hearing.
  • URAC has released voluntary accreditation standards for prescription benefit management companies.
  • HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently released a set of reports titled Privacy and Security Solutions for Interoperable Health Information Exchange. The reports review 34 state Health Information Exchange plans and identify the challenges and feasible solutions for ensuring the safety and security of electronic health information exchange. These reports are intended to form the basis for the development of privacy and security milestones in the National Health Information Network development process. According to BNA, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt remarked that he was “impressed by the progress but daunted by what needs to be done.”
  • Sen. Max Baucus (D MT) has introduced a bill (S. 1951) that would significantly alter the recent Medicaid rule on generic drug reimbursements in favor of pharmacies.