Earlier this week according to reports from the Hill and the Washington Examiner, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee each voted out over fifty opioid crisis bills. Health IT Security notes unfortunately that neither package includes a desired provision aligning the privacy laws that protect people with substance use disorders. “Harmonization of [42 CFR] Part 2 with [the] HIPAA [privacy rule] would * * * increase care coordination and integration among treating providers and other entities in communities across the nation.”

Fierce Healthcare tells us that HHS and the American Society for Nephrology are “launch[ing] an accelerator for kidney care innovation. The Kidney Innovation Accelerator, or KidneyX, will begin accepting applications for its first round of funding this summer, HHS announced. In addition to providing funding to back new approaches to kidney care, KidneyX will coordinate with federal agencies to bring the innovations to market more quickly.”

EHR Intelligence reports a positive stakeholder response to the HHS inpatient prospective payment system rule released earlier this week. That rule is chock a block full of policy changes as discussed in the article.

Finally, a couple of items of interest to payers:

  • AHRQ released  a “Guide to Improving Patient Safety in Primary Care Settings by Engaging Patients and Families.” [The publication]  is a resource to help primary care practices partner with patients and their families to improve patient safety. The Guide is composed of materials and resources to help primary care practices implement patient and family engagement to improve patient safety.” The guide may help payers convince their members about the importance of selecting and using a primary care provider in the payer’s network.
  • Employee Benefit News offers guidance on how to help plan members / employees avoid wasting their health savings account dollars. The FEHBlog expects this guidance will be well received by high deductible plan members.