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Washington DC Update 4/13/22
Congress has adjourned for a two-week state work period for the Easter and Passover holidays. The Senate will return on Monday, April 25, with the House returning a day later on Tuesday, April 26. 

Congratulations Justice Brown Jackson!! On April 7, 2022, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed by the Senate to be the next Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court, and the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice. We mark and celebrate this historic moment in U.S. history. A review of Justice Brown’s disability and civil rights record can be found HERE.

Black Maternal Health Week April 11-17, 2022
Follow this link from the Black Mamas Matter Alliance to learn about events, social media, and advocacy opportunities.

Read this blog post by the National Health Law Program about Fostering Maternal Health Equity through Budget Reconciliation. The post lays out 3 critical ways that Congress can construct and advance a new budget reconciliation package that includes Medicaid eligibility, payment, and service delivery reforms as well as holistic public health solutions for Black moms and birthing people.
From the Administration
In Case You Missed It: Immunocompromised and Those Aged 50+ Eligible for Second COVID-19 Booster
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have decided that people 50 years old or older and people with compromised immune systems are eligible to receive a second COVID-19 booster shot.

Related: COVID.gov is a new website to provide access to ALL information about COVID-19 vaccines, tests, treatments and masks, as well as other COVID-19-related news and information, such as the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 data. The website has a feature, Test-to-Treat, to help people identify pharmacies and community health centers where they can get tested and receive treatment if needed. The Administration aims to develop Test-to-Treat locations in hard-hit and high-risk communities.

Expanded: Post-Partum Coverage Available through Medicaid and CHIP
The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing that, as of April 1, 2022, as many as 720,000 pregnant and postpartum people across the United States could be guaranteed Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for a full 12 months after pregnancy thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Medicaid covers 42 percent of all births in the nation.

Under existing requirements, many Medicaid and CHIP enrollees receive coverage through the end of the month in which their 60-day postpartum period ends. Maintaining Medicaid and CHIP coverage for a full year provides access to critical health care services during the first year after pregnancy, which can help to address persistent health disparities. One-third of maternal deaths occur between one week to a year after the end of pregnancy, and rates of maternal mortality are up to five times higher among Black and American Indian/Alaska Native people than their white peers.

Beginning April 1, 2022, the ARP’s new state plan option offers state Medicaid and CHIP agencies an opportunity to provide 12 months of continuous postpartum coverage. States choosing to extend postpartum coverage must elect this option in both Medicaid and their separate CHIP programs, if applicable, and submit required state plan amendments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The new ARP state plan option is currently limited to a five-year period that ends on March 31, 2027.

For more information consult the state health official letter CMS issued in December 2021.

CMS: Expanded HCBS access through Money Follows the Person
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will offer more than $110 million to expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. The new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) makes individual awards of up to $5 million available for more than 20 states and territories not currently participating in MFP. These funds will support initial planning and implementation to get the state/territory programs off the ground, which would ensure more people with Medicaid can receive high-quality, cost-effective, person-centered services in a setting they choose.

State Medicaid agencies not currently participating in the MFP demonstration may apply through the NOFO no later than May 31, 2022. To access the NOFO, visit Grants.gov or here visit this page.

Treasury Proposal: Fix “Family Glitch”
The Department of Treasury recently issued a Notice of Proposed RulemakingAccording to the proposed rule, the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have “tentatively determined” that their previous reading of the ACA statute that bars family members from the premium tax credit when employee-sponsored coverage was affordable (aka the “family glitch”) “is not required” and that it “unduly weakens the ACA.”

This newsletter from Manatt Health provides a digestible history and overview of the “family glitch,” as well as outlines a possible way forward.

Long COVID: Whole-of-Government Effort to Prevent, Detect, and Treat
On April 5, 2022, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum directing a whole-of-government approach to Long COVID. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will coordinate the first-ever national research action plan between multiple federal agencies. HHS will issue a report describing the federal services and supports for people with Long COVID, people who experience a COVID-related loss, and people who experience substance use or mental health impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report will include information about the impact of Long COVID on high-risk communities and efforts to overcome disparities in access to Long COVID supports and services.

For more information, read the Fact Sheet about the Whole-of-Government effort.

ACL Fact Sheet: Unwinding of PHE
On April 5, 2022, the Administration for Community Living issued a Fact Sheet to help people prepare for Medicaid changes when the Public Health Emergency (PHE) expires. Unlike other publications preparing for the unwinding of the public health emergency, this one is designed to be shared with patients and families. It lays out information in the format of “5 Things Our Network Should Know” about the unwinding. Check it out and consider sharing directly with families.

CDC Report: Health Needs and Use of Services of Children with Developmental Disabilities 2014 - 2018
Issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, this report analyzed data from 44,299 participants in the 2014–2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

Approximately one in six (17.3%) U.S. children and adolescents aged 3–17 years had developmental disabilities (DDs) during 2014–2018. Compared with children and adolescents without DDs, those with DDs were two to seven times as likely to take prescription medication and receive mental health or specialized health care provider services and 18 times as likely to receive special education or early intervention services.

What are the implications for public health practice? Policies and programs that promote early identification of children and adolescents with DDs and increase access to intervention services could improve health and reduce the need for services later in life.

Fact Sheet: Policy Initiatives to Tackle Medical Debt
The White House published a fact sheet outlining several policy initiatives aimed at easing medical debt and increasing consumer protection. Examples of new announcements from executive branch agencies include:

  • HHS. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to request data from providers on medical bill collection practices, financial assistance, and product offerings, as well as third-party contracting or debt buying practices.
  • CFPB. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) plans to investigate "coercive" credit reporting practices by companies, as well as bolster its consumer education resources.
Proposed Rule: Skilled Nursing Facilities Prospective Payment System
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its fiscal year (FY) 2023 Skilled Nursing Facilities Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) proposed rule, which includes asking for public feedback on how staffing in nursing homes and health equity improvements could lead to better health outcomes. Through the SNF PPS proposed rule, CMS is continuing its work to transform the SNF payment system to a more patient-centered model by making payments based on the needs of the whole patient, rather than focusing on the volume of certain services the patient receives.

In the SNF PPS proposed rule, CMS is soliciting input to help the agency establish minimum staffing requirements that nursing homes will need to meet to ensure all residents are provided safe, high-quality care, and nursing home workers have the support they need. CMS is also requesting stakeholder input on a measure that would examine staff turnover levels in nursing homes for possible inclusion in CMS’ SNF Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program, which rewards facilities with incentive payments based on the quality of care they provide to people.

For a fact sheet on President Biden’s remarks during the State of the Union Address on improving nursing home safety and quality, please visit this page.

For a fact sheet on the FY 2023 SNF PPS proposed rule, please visit this page.

To view the FY 2023 SNF PPS proposed rule, please visit this page.
Funding Opportunity
PCORI Science of Engagement
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) intends to release a PCORI Funding Announcement (PFA) on May 3, 2022, seeking to fund studies that build an evidence base on engagement in research. Initial funding will primarily focus on measure development and/or validation, particularly rapid measure development, leveraging opportunities to support teams who may have already begun measure development work. Applicants can also validate or adapt existing measures initially developed for this or different contexts (e.g., community-based participatory research, engagement in health care delivery). A smaller number of early awards will test engagement techniques using a combination of limited existing validated measures of engagement and measures of other research outcomes (e.g., participant recruitment and retention; diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes).

PCORI anticipates multiple funding cycles for this initiative, with the focus of subsequent PFAs to be updated as the evidence base grows. PCORI invites interested participants to review the full preannouncement on the website for details.

Thank you for subscribing to the Washington DC Update newsletter. Please feel free to contact the Family Voices Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Cara Coleman, with any questions. Past issues of the Update appear on the Family Voices website. If you wish to unsubscribe, you can do so via the "Unsubscribe" link below.

Family Voices is a national organization and grassroots network of families and friends of children and youth with special health care needs and disabilities that promotes partnership with families--including those of cultural, linguistic and geographic diversity--in order to improve healthcare services and policies for children.