Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
Washington DC Update 7/2/2020
1-800-273-8255 or Chat

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

Alert: Watch out for potential scams related to government assistance to taxpayers impacted by the coronavirus. See:
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) recognizes July as  National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month  and encourages partners to join us in educating communities about the importance of mental healthcare and treatment especially during the pandemic. OMH will also encourage behavioral health professionals to develop their knowledge and skills to deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate services through OMH's free and accredited e-learning program . For resources and materials,
visit the OMH website  and the OMH Spanish website .
Greetings from Washington, DC

From July 3 until July 20, both the House and Senate will be in recess, which presents a good time to educate your Members of Congress about the pandemic-related challenges facing families of children and youth with special health care needs, the health care providers who serve them, and Family-to-Family Health Information Centers. To find out when your Representative and Senators will be holding tele-town halls or other events, check out the Town Hall Project ( townhallproject.com ). To find out who your Representative is, enter your zip code on the House homepage (upper right corner) at www.house.gov or select your state on the Senate homepage (upper left corner) at www.senate.gov . After Congress returns from its July 4 recess, it will have only two weeks before the long August recess to pass any more measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fall-out. Read about the prospects for this legislation, and more, below.
NOTE: Below are items about non-coronavirus issues followed by items related to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Non-Coronavirus News, Information, and Resources
  • Congress (non-COVID issues)
  • The Administration (non-COVID issues)
  • Other Non-COVID News, Information, & Resources
  • Coronavirus News, Information, and Resources
  • Congress
  • The Administration
  • Medicaid & CHIP
  • Civil Rights/Health Equity
  • Telehealth
  • Medical, Scientific, and Other Health-Related Coronavirus Information 
  • Other COVID News, Information, & Resources
  • TRICARE and Military Health System (COVID and non-COVID issues)
  • Your Input Sought
  • Upcoming Webinars and Calls
  • Of Possible Interest
Congress (non-COVID issues)

House Passes Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act
On June 29, the House passed, largely along party lines ( roll call vote), the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. (Although the bill is numbered H.R. 1425, the original title and text of that bill were replaced with entirely new language.) See the one-page bill summary and section-by-section summary. The Senate is not expected to take up the bill, and the president has said he would veto it in any case. See House Democrats push through first bill in a decade expanding Affordable Care Act (Washington Post, 6/29/20).  
The Administration (non-COVID issues)

Administration Submits Supreme Court Brief Urging that the ACA Be Declared Invalid
On June 25, the Department of Justice, along with Texas and a number of other states, filed briefs with the Supreme Court reiterating the view that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be declared unconstitutional. See DOJ, Republican AGs Ask Supreme Court To Strike Down ACA (Health Affairs blog, 6/26/20). The Court is expected to hear the case in its next term, which begins in October, and render a decision next year, possibly as late as June 2021. It is possible that the Court will find that none of the parties has “standing” to sue, in which case it will not reach the decision of whether the law is unconstitutional. 
Other Non-COVID News, Information, and Resources


Coronavirus Legislation – Action Possible at the End of July
As detailed in the May 19 Washington Update, the House passed a comprehensive package to address health and financial issues related to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-May -- the HEROES Act (H.R. 6800). The Senate has not yet acted on that bill or developed any legislation of its own. Reportedly, there have been few negotiations as yet between Senate Republican and Democratic committee leaders, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said another bill will be done by August recess. See McConnell eyes next coronavirus package after July recess (Politico, 6/30/20). Senator McConnell reportedly wants a very limited bill, which he says will include protections from liability for hospitals, businesses, and schools if they are sued over COVID-19, as well as some degree of unemployment relief and funding for health care providers. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) has said that the bill will also include funding for more COVID-19 testing, research on therapeutics, and vaccine development. See Senate Republicans begin drafting new coronavirus relief bill (Roll Call, 6/30/20).

Among other things, advocates are urging the Senate to include in its bill a number of provisions from the House bill, including an increase in the federal Medicaid matching rate, with an extra matching-rate increase for home and community-based services; COBRA subsidies; a special ACA enrollment period; and an expansion of paid leave benefits.

The Administration

See the video, slides and transcript from a 6/24/20 CDC webinar:
WORTH REPEATING: Trump Administration Encourages Reopening of Healthcare Facilities : New recommendations provide guidance to health systems and patients as COVID-19 cases decline (CMS Press Release, 6/9/20). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a guide, Re-Opening America: What Patients Should Know About Seeking Healthcare for patients and beneficiaries as they consider their in-person care options. (In Spanish .)
For the latest guidance and communication resources on COVID-19, visit CDC’s web page for Guidance Documents
Medicaid & CHIP

New Additions to the Medicaid/CHIP COVID-19 FAQs from CMS
On June 30, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted New COVID-19 Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) to aid state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) agencies in their response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The new FAQs cover a variety of Medicaid and CHIP topics, including: Eligibility and Enrollment; Notice and Fair Hearings; Optional COVID-Testing Group FAQs; Premiums and Cost Sharing; Benefits; Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT); Information Technology; and Financing. These new FAQs have been added to the comprehensive list of COVID-19 FAQs compiled to date.
For a complete and updated list of CMS actions, guidance, and other information in response to the COVID-19 virus, see the  Current Emergencies Website.   CMS has also launched a dedicated,  Medicaid.gov, COVID-19 resource page  that will be continually updated with relevant information. For information on all the activities of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, see  www.coronavirus.gov

COVID-19 State Resource Guide: Leveraging Federal and State Authorities to Ensure Access to Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS)
This  new resource guide from Manatt Health and the SCAN Foundation is intended to help state officials and other stakeholders understand how temporary federal and state Medicaid flexibilities are being deployed during COVID-19 to help ensure access to long-term services and supports (LTSS). It also identifies flexibilities that states might retain after the pandemic or for future public health emergencies. 
Civil Rights/Health Equity

From the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR):

OCR Secures Early Case Resolution with Puerto Rico After it Provides Interpreting Services for Mental Health Hotlines (Unfortunately, it appears this announcement is no longer available on HHS.gov  – June 30, 2020


  • Health Equity Matters Newsletter | This year, the CDC launched the Health Equity Matters Newsletter to supply information and resources to support the advancement of health equity during and after the era of COVID-19.

New Taskforce on Telehealth Seeking Public Input
The Alliance for Connected Care, National Committee for Quality Assurance, and the American Telemedicine Association have established a Taskforce on Telehealth to develop recommendations for policy makers to facilitate the long-term integration of telehealth and remote patient monitoring services into the health care system. Please see “Your Input Sought,” below, for more details, questions to consider, and a link for submitting comments.

Senate Committee Hearing on Telehealth
On June 17, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) held a hearing, Telehealth: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can watch the hearing (2 hours and 20 minutes) and/or read the witnesses’ full written testimony on this page of the committee website.

Changes in Medicaid Telehealth Policies Due to COVID-19: Catalog Overview and Findings
The Medicaid Access and Payment Commission (MACPAC), a federal panel that advises Congress on Medicaid and CHIP policy, contracted with the consulting firm Mathematica to catalog Medicaid telehealth policy changes in all states, the District of Columbia, and the territories. The summary report synthesizes key findings from across the states and the full catalog (Excel spreadsheet) provides high level, state- and territory- specific information on telehealth policy changes pertaining to services and specialties, providers, modalities, payment, and originating site and licensure rules. Data is current as of May 1, 2020.

Excellent Telehealth Resource
The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP ) serves as the Telehealth Policy Resource Center under a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). As such, it provides resources on telehealth and technical assistance to the nation’s regional telehealth resource centers . The CCHP website also provides comprehensive information about federal and state telehealth policies.
Administration Proposes Rule to Make Permanent Telehealth Flexibilities for Medicare Home Health Benefit
On June 25, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule on the Medicare home health benefit and home infusion therapy services. Under the proposed rule, the agency would make permanent the telehealth flexibility for Medicare home health care services that were initiated for the COVID-19 health emergency.

Medical, Scientific, Other Health-Related Coronavirus Information

Other COVID News, Information, and Resources

IDEA Part C Dispute Resolution Procedures
On June 22, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), within the U.S. Department of Education’s (Department) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, issued this Question and Answer (Q & A) document in response to inquiries concerning implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C dispute resolution procedures in the current COVID-19 environment.


Important Update from the CDC: 
CDC’s COVID-19 Partner Update Calls will now include guidance and resources for all external stakeholders. To continue receiving invites for these weekly calls, please subscribe to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Partners Newsletter.  If you have any questions about this transition, please email [email protected].

Are you enrolled in  TRICARE Select? You may be eligible to use the TRICARE Select Navigator, administered by Accolade. The  TRICARE Select Navigator offers confidential and personalized support to certain TRICARE Select enrollees. This may include enrollees who meet one of the following criteria.
  • You have two or more complex medical conditions. These may include illnesses such as asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • You have claims totaling $100,000 a year or more. This may happen if you have multiple emergency room trips or hospital admissions.

Download the latest TRICARE East Region or TRICARE West Region newsletter at www.tricare.mil/publications .

Sign up for  email alerts , and keep up with  TRICARE and COVID-19 updates.
NEW - Taskforce on Telehealth, Due Monday, July 13
The Alliance for Connected Care, National Committee for Quality Assurance, and the American Telemedicine Association have established a Taskforce on Telehealth, a group whose members represent health care providers, consumer advocates, payers and health quality experts from the public, private and non-profit sectors. The purpose of the Taskforce is to develop recommendations for policy makers to facilitate the long-term expansion and integration of telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) services into the overall system of care. The Taskforce will break into three subcommittees to address certain questions. The Taskforce is now soliciting comments from the public to inform its deliberations, which will take place over the summer. Comments can be submitted at ncqa.getfeedback.com. Before submitting comments, it may be helpful to review the questions that the Taskforce plans to address.

Due August 31
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is seeking input from stakeholders on the new The Strategic Framework aims to support states efforts to:
  1. Address the holistic needs of older adults and people with disabilities through program coordination and integration with health care financing and delivery; and
  2. Support partnerships across health care and social service organizations to improve health care outcomes and lower costs by effectively addressing social determinants of health.

Feedback can be submitted via email to [email protected]

Asian American and Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander In-language COVID-19 Resources - ngoing
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) has launched a crowd-sourcing project to collect Asian American and Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander in-language COVID-19 resources. APIAHF will gather all of the responses and organize them by language here, so that people can see the variety of available resources. Please fill out the form here to submit a resource. 
Webinars are arranged in chronological order, based on first webinar in a series

Thursday, July 9, 2:00-3:00 ET
National Resource Center on Hispanic Children & Families

Thursday, July 9, 2:00 ET
National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems

SERIES Health Equity and Social Solidarity in the Time of Pandemic: Strategies for COVID-19 Response and Recovery
County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
Friday, July 10, 1:30-3:00 ET
Trust for America’s Health

Wednesday, July 15, 2:00 ET
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Tuesday, July 21, 11:30-1:00 ET
Bipartisan Policy Center
Tuesday, July 21, 3:00-4:00 ET
American Lung Association
Tuesday, July 28, 2:00-3:30 ET
National TA Network for Children’s Behavioral Health (SAMSHA-funded)
This is an open and interactive call for peer learning, networking and support for anyone working to develop improved systems of young adults of transition age.

NEW The Arc’s Summer Leadership Institute is an educational event for executives, senior leaders, and staff across the disability and public service sectors. Due to COVID-19 safety concerns and precautions, the 2020 Summer Leadership Institute will be presented in a virtual format, and will provide a series of  FREE live streaming events and on-demand webinars spread across July and August. This year’s sessions cover everything from the financial challenges of COVID-19, providing direct services, and navigating policy to advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

American Red Cross
Not subscribed to the Washington Update? | SIGN UP HERE

Thank you for subscribing to the Washington DC Update newsletter. Please feel free to contact Family Voices Policy Director, Janis Guerney , 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 "SafeUnsubscribe" 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.