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Washington DC Update 7/22/2020
Greetings from Washington, DC

 The name of the game on Capitol Hill is still the next COVID bill, which is being negotiated now that Congress is back from recess (having returned on Monday, July 20). It is expected that legislation will be enacted before Congress adjourns in two or three weeks for its August recess, a great motivator, especially in an election year when the time is needed for campaigning. One big health issue is whether the legislation will include an additional increase in the federal Medicaid matching rate. Speaking of Medicaid, July 30 is the program’s 55 th birthday, and July 26 is the 30 th birthday of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are several virtual events to acknowledge this ADA milestone, listed in the “Upcoming Webinars and Calls” section at the end of this Update.
Note on the organization of this Update: Non-coronavirus updates are first, followed by items related to the coronavirus pandemic.
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) recognizes July as  National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. For resources and materials,
visit the OMH website   and the OMH Spanish website .
  • Non-Coronavirus News, Information, and Resources
  • The Courts
  • 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
  • Health Equity
  • Telehealth
  • Schools Re-Opening
  • 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
The Courts

As reported in earlier Updates, the Supreme Court has decided to take up the case, Texas v. California , in which a number of Republican states and the administration assert that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional. Defending the ACA are a number of Democratic states and US the House of Representatives. A new Court schedule last week seems to confirm the common wisdom that the Court will not hear arguments in the case this year.

On July 14, the US Department of Justice and the state of Arkansas asked the Supreme Court to overrule an appeals court ruling that the Department of Health and Human Services should not have approved an Arkansas waiver proposal to establish work requirements as a condition of Medicaid eligibility for certain beneficiaries. The Court is not obligated to take the case.
Congress (non-COVID issues)

House Energy & Commerce Committee Approves 17 Bipartisan Health Bills
On Wednesday, July 15, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce held a “markup” to consider 17 health bills, all of which are bipartisan and were reported favorably out of the full committee. Among the bills are one that would make non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) a mandatory Medicaid benefit, and another that would enhance enforcement of the mental health parity law. All of the bills are summarized in the chairman’s news release .

House Appropriations Committee Approves HHS Spending Bill for FY 2021
On July 13, the House Appropriations Committee held a “markup” to consider the FY 2021 bill to fund the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education. The bill would provide increased funding for a number of health programs, including an increase of $25 million for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant. Ultimately, the FY 2021 funding level will be negotiated with the Senate and the White House. The new fiscal year will begin on October 1, 2020, but, as often happens, there may be a temporary spending bill – “continuing resolution” – to keep the government running until final spending bills can be negotiated. See the committee press release , which links to the bill summary , and the bill report .
The Administration (non-COVID issues)

On July 14, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) informed state Medicaid agencies that the deadline for ensuring compliance with the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Settings Regulation will be extended until March 17, 2023, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter from CMS to State Medicaid Directors -- Home and Community-Based Settings Regulation – Implementation Timeline Extension and Revised Frequently Asked Questions .
Other Non-COVID News, Information and Resources

Protecting Consumers from Surprise Health Care Bills (Issue brief from the National Conference of State Legislatures, 7/9/20 – discusses federal and state policies and proposals.)

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) – but the Senate has not yet acted, or even released a bill. Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said another bill will be done before August recess. He reportedly wants a very limited bill that will cost much less than the $3-trillion House bill, and his top priority is to provide liability protections for schools, colleges, charities, churches, government agencies and businesses if they are sued for harms resulting from coronavirus exposure. The president reportedly wants a payroll-tax cut in the bill, which does not seem to be popular among lawmakers of either party.

On July 1, about 100 organizations -- representing states, counties, cities, patient groups, provider groups, and managed care plans -- sent a letter to Congressional leaders requesting the additional increase in the federal Medicaid matching rate (Medical Assistance Percentage, or FMAP) and for a rescission of the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Rule (MFAR), which would limit the ways that states can raise funds for their share of Medicaid expenditures. Health care advocates are also pushing for a number other provisions to be in the bill, including an extra FMAP boost for home and community-based services, measures to curtail surprise medical bills, and increased funding for Family-to-Family Health Information Centers.  
The Administration

For the latest guidance and communication resources on COVID-19, visit CDC’s webpage for Guidance Documents . (See below for CDC resources on schools.)

COVID-19 One-Stop Shop Toolkits (CDC, Updated July 17, 2020) --
Videos, Social Media, PSAs, Print Resources, Checklists, FAQs, and Web Resources. For information in Spanish only, please visit  CDC en Español. See materials in other Languages .

Natural Disasters, Severe Weather, and COVID-19 is a new CDC website that provides information on preparedness and recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic and what the general public can do to keep themselves safe. 
Medicaid & CHIP

WORTH REPEATING: 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 .

WORTH REPEATING: 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.
Medical, Scientific, and Other Health-Related Coronavirus Information

Other COVID News, Information & Resources

Supporting Family Caregivers in the Time of COVID-19: State Strategies (Center for Health Care Strategies blog, 6/2/20)

WORTH REPEATING: 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.
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 - Ongoing
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

The following two Honoring the Fight/Continuing the Fight events are co-hosted by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA):
Wednesday, July 22 , 10:30-11:30 ET
Panelists include: Former Senator Tom Harkin , (D-IA) 40-year member of Congress and Senate author of the ADA.
Friday, July 24 , 1:00-2:00 ET
CART and American Sign Language will be provided. For further accommodations contact [email protected] . Q uestions about these events and more contact [email protected] and [email protected] .

Thursday, July 23 , 11:00-12:00 ET   
Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities

Thursday, July 23 , 2:00 ET
University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities National Training Center 

Tuesday, July 28 , 3:00-4:00 ET
National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement

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.

Wednesday, July 29 , 3:00 ET
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Thursday, July 30 , 1:00-2:00 ET
Military One Source

Thursday, July 30 , 2:00 ET
Child and Family Policy Center

Thursday, July 30 , 2:00-3:30 ET
Trust for America’s Health, American Public Health Association, NAACP, and the National Collaborative for Health Equity

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
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