December 4, 2020 |  Issue 20-39 Missed Last Week's Washington Report? Click Here to Visit our Archives!

Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) TAG Vacancies
 In February 2018, with the announcement of CHAP expansion to Tribes beyond Alaska, IHS created a CHAP Tribal Advisory Group.

 Information on CHAP and CHAP TAG, including vacant positions, is available on the CHAP

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SDPINIHB Joins Coalition Urging Long-term Reauthorization of Special Diabetes Programs
Featured in an editorial of The Hill, the National Indian Health Board, along with the Endocrine Society and JDRF urged for the passage of both the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) and the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) for long-term renewal. The coalition held a virtual Congressional briefing earlier this fall sharing with Members and staff the success in program's ability to reduce incidence of Type II diabetes and its mortality rates. SDPI is set to run out on December 11 when the current budget continuing resolution (CR) expires. 

NIHB will continue to advocate for the long-term reauthorization and increased funding for SDPI as the 116th Congress concludes and the 117th Congress commences on January 3, 2021. 
In This Issue:


FavoredNationCMS Rule on the New Most Favored Nation Model
On November 27, CMS released a rule titled, the "Most Favored Nation Model" which details a new Medicare payment model that will test weather payments for Medicare Part B drugs and biologicals can be changed to allow more closely aligned payments. Specifically, this Model will use international prices and remove previous incentives that would use higher cost drugs. In turn the agency believes that this can control unsustainable growth in Medicare Part B spending. The Model will also include a cohort of initially 50 separately payable Medicare part B drugs and biologicals. Overall, this new model is aimed at improving the adverse effects of quality of care for beneficiaries. The model will require mandatory participation from all providers or suppliers that participate in the Medicare program and submit a unique payable claim for MFN Model drug with limited exceptions. These regulations are effective on November 27, 2020. Comments on these regulations are due January 26, 2021.  
HITA Comment Request from CMS on the State Medicaid HIT Plan
On November 27, CMS published a notice on request for comment on the State Medicaid HIT Plan, Planning Advance Planning Document and Implementation Advance Planning Document for Section 4201 of the Recovery Act to be used as an assessment of the appropriateness of state requests for the federal financial participation for expenditures under their Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program related to health information exchange. The second information collection in this request details the Final Peer Review of Organizations Sanction Regulations, which references The Peer Review Improvement Act pf 1982 and that Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) are responsible for identifying violations by allowing practitioners and other entities the opportunity to submit relevant information before identifying said violations. The collection of this information will be used by QIOs to collect information necessary to make their decision. Comments on this request are due January 26, 2021.
RegulatoryActionHHS Information Collection Request on Regulatory Actions in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
On November 25, HHS released a request for information form agencies on the regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery from deregulatory actions that they have taken regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, agencies are also asked to describe witch temporary deregulations should remain permanent. This regulatory order was intended to help businesses and other entities recover from the pandemic by addressing administrative burden that may be caused when trying to comply with the law. Specific questions HHS is looking for comments on include: what regulatory changes that have been made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been beneficial to various healthcare systems, human service providers and such, what changed have been detrimental to healthcare systems, which changes should be maintained, but modified after the expiration of the public health emergency, and which changes should be discontinued immediately. Comments on this request are due December 28, 2020.
BurdensomeRequest for Information from HHS on Specific Burdensome Regulations
On November 27, HHS released a request for information on regulations that are redundant, overlapping or inconsistent. HHS is seeking comment from individuals on any regulations from HHS that are redundant and how those redundancies may be eliminated. Individuals are also encouraged to comment on federal regulations that may overlap with other HHS offices or agencies that have created uncertainty or confusion as well as challenges individuals face when trying to comply with redundant, overlapping or inconsistent HHS regulations. Comments on these regulations must be submitted by December 21, 2020. 
ContingentComment Request from HHS on Best Practices in the Healthcare System Contingent on the COVID-19 Pandemic
On November 24, HHS published a request for information on the changes adopted by the healthcare system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS is interested in collecting this information to identify innovative approaches that have been implemented by non-HHS organizations to incorporate and strategize new HHS priorities and programs. HHS recommends that commenters should focus on select aspects of the entire continuum of care which includes surveillance, screening, prevention, treatment and / or public health interventions. Other questions HHS recommends commenters answer in their comments is whether or not HHS policies or programs have facilitated the design and implementation of said best practices and whether or not HHS programs or policies hindered the design and implementation of said best practice. Comments are due December 24, 2020.
TransportsCMS Update on the Expansion of the Authorization Model for Repetitive, Scheduled Non-Emergent Ambulance Transports
On November 23, CMS published a notice on the expansion of the Authorization Model for Repetitive, Scheduled Non- Emergent Ambulance Transports. This model was originally implemented in test states to reduce or not increase the net program spending under applicable titles as well as to not limit the coverage or provision of specific benefits under the applicable title for eligible individuals. CMS is delaying the expansion to additional states due to the COVID-19 health emergency. However, CMS notes that on December 2, 2020 the national expansion will only be applicable in Delaware, DC, Maryland, New Jersey North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
MedicareOpen Enrollment for Medicare Ends December 7th, 2020
CMS released an announcement reminding individuals planning to enroll or make changes to Medicare plan(s) that the deadline for open enrollment is December 7th.  Changes will be effective January 1, 2021.
WebinarPost-Election Webinar
After the 2020 Election, the Congressional Relations Department of NIHB analyzed and shared a dialogue of what the election results mean for Tribal health policy. For reader's benefit, NIHB has posted a recording of the webinar for knowledge sharing. 

To view the webinar, click here. 
COVIDResourcesCall for Tribal COVID-19 Resources
The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is seeking to create a pool of resources which Tribes can access when planning or implementing their own COVID-19 response. To this end, NIHB is asking Tribes to share with us any tools, operational plans, guides, policies, communication products, etc. that has helped your Tribe combat this pandemic. The materials can be de-identified, if needed. These resources will be placed online within NIHB's COVID-19 Tribal Response Center alongside other community health materials. We hope this aids Tribes to build on successes and support each other in the collective effort to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on Indian Country.

To submit any materials or resources, please email Courtney Wheeler ( If you have any questions, please contact Courtney Wheeler.

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