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The Daily Scan

Last Updated: 1:00 PM EST


  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar issued the following statement yesterday regarding the Office of Management and Budget’s release of the Fall 2018 Unified Agenda: “Today’s report is more evidence that HHS is delivering on President Trump’s promise to reform regulations to unleash our economy while enhancing and protecting the health and well-being of the American people. HHS was the No. 1 Cabinet agency in terms of regulatory accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2018, reducing the burden of its regulations in present-value terms by $12.5 billion. Under President Trump’s leadership, HHS continues to remove regulatory obstacles that get in the way of providers spending time with patients or that drive up the cost of healthcare. HHS’s work on regulatory reform will continue to reflect President Trump’s deep commitment to lower cost, higher quality healthcare that puts patients, not Washington, in the driver’s seat.” (HHS.gov)

  • CMS Administrator Seema Verma released a statement yesterday on Burden Reduction Accomplishments: “I would like to thank President Trump for his leadership and commitment to reducing burdensome federal regulations and Secretary Azar’s action to moving our healthcare system towards providing value for patients. CMS will continue our efforts to eliminate unnecessary regulations that take providers away from patients and stifle innovation. Every hour saved from reducing needless administrative burden is an hour more that our healthcare system can spend improving Americans’ health outcomes, and every duplicative requirement we eliminate saves patients and taxpayers money. Upon taking office, President Trump made reducing burdensome regulations across the federal government a top priority, establishing his 'Cut The Red Tape Initiative.' At CMS, we took this directive and created our 'Patients Over Paperwork Initiative' last year. For 2018 through 2021, CMS projects final rules and current proposals under the Patients Over Paperwork initiative will eliminate more than 53 million hours of burden for providers and save our healthcare system close to $5.2 billion.” (CMS.gov)

  • Yesterday Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein delivered remarks at America’s Health Insurance Plans 2018 National Conference on Medicaid: "Today, I want to talk about ending the opioid epidemic, and the important roles that the Department of Justice and the private sector play in that effort. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions understand that the extent of opioid addiction in America is staggering. In 2017, there were more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States. More than two-thirds of the total involved opioid drugs, about 49,000 deaths. That equates to 134 people dying every day from opioids, or one person every eleven minutes. That does not count the toll in non-fatal overdoses and the agony of addiction. The human costs are enormous. The financial costs are also shocking. A recent study found that the opioid crisis cost the United States more than $1 trillion between 2001 and 2017— from lost productivity, health care expenses, and other losses. The study predicts that the problem may grow, costing another $500 billion over the next two years. This is a man-made disaster. In order to solve it, we need to understand how and why it happened." (Justice.gov)


  • The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today filed a complaint with Meijer after a pharmacist refused to fill a customer’s prescription that was medically necessary to treat her miscarriage. The ACLU is asking for an immediate investigation and that Meijer implement a policy that ensures all patients have access to prescribed medication. On July 1, 2018, Rachel Peterson’s OB/GYN called-in a prescription to the Petoskey Meijer pharmacy for medication to treat Ms. Peterson’s recent miscarriage. It was crucial for her to take the medication in a timely manner to avoid having to undergo a more invasive surgical procedure. But the Meijer pharmacist on duty refused to fill her prescription, saying that “as a good Catholic male,” he could not “in good conscience fill the prescription” because he believed it was her intention to use it to end a pregnancy. When Ms. Peterson told him that her OB/GYN found no signs of viability from the fetus, which confirmed an early pregnancy loss, he accused her of lying and said “that was just [her] word.” The Meijer pharmacist also refused to let Ms. Peterson speak to another pharmacist or transfer her prescription to another pharmacy. This forced Ms. Peterson to leave her family vacation in Petoskey and drive more than three hours to another Meijer pharmacy to get the time-sensitive medicine that she required. (ACLUMich.org)


  • The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General found in a recent audit that the state of Ohio made capitation payments totaling $90.5 million on behalf of deceased beneficiaries. Their report states: "We confirmed that all beneficiaries associated with the 100 capitation payments in our stratified random sample were deceased. Ohio properly recovered 37 of these capitation payments. However, Ohio did not recover the remaining 63 capitation payments totaling $74,495 ($51,431 Federal share). On the basis of our sample results, we estimated that Ohio did not recover unallowable payments to Medicaid Managed Care Organizations totaling at least $51.3 million ($38 million Federal share) during our audit period. Ohio did not always identify and process Medicaid beneficiaries’ death information. Although Ohio’s eligibility systems regularly interfaced with Federal data exchanges that identify dates of death, county caseworkers did not always receive notification that beneficiaries had died." (OIG.HHS.gov)

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