President Trump has signed an Executive Order that directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop new nephrology policies to address reducing the number of patients developing kidney failure, increasing the number of kidneys available for transplant, and reducing the number of dialysis treatment at dialysis centers to encourage more in-home kidney dialysis. These policies will take shape in via five new CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation payment models.
According to HHS, “the proposed required End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Treatment Choices (ETC) Model would encourage greater use of home dialysis and kidney transplants for Medicare beneficiaries with ESRD in order to preserve or enhance their quality of care while reducing Medicare expenditures, and the Kidney Care First (KCF) and Comprehensive Kidney Care Contracting (CKCC) Models will test new Medicare payment options that aim to improve the quality of care for patients with kidney disease.”
Additionally, CMS announced four optional models:
- The Kidney Care First (KCF) Model
- The Comprehensive Kidney Care Contracting (CKCC) Graduated Model
- CKCC Professional Model
- The Global Model
These optional payment models are designed to help health care providers reduce the cost and improve the quality of care for patients with late-stage chronic kidney disease and ESRD. These models also aim to delay the need for dialysis and encourage kidney transplantation.
Healthcare and life sciences stakeholders can expect to continue to see policy changes for the foreseeable future so it is better to be prepared ahead of time before they happen. Frier Levitt Government Affairs (FLGA) monitors and forecasts issues of importance for healthcare and life sciences stakeholders, including state and federal legislation and regulation, all presented in a concise, easy to understand and time friendly format. FLGA’s monitoring and forecasting services allow stakeholders to stay educated and engaged on new developments before the trends become mainstream.
With laws and regulations changing all the time, it is imperative for healthcare and life sciences stakeholders and organizations to be proactive instead of reactive. Contact FLGA today to get “in the know” and finally be prepared for the changes ahead.
Proposed regulations are something that are underutilized by healthcare and life sciences supply chain entities. While legislation captures all the excitement with lobbying and either amending or passing new laws, when it comes to healthcare, the gaps legislation oftentimes leaves open-ended are left to an agency to do the details of filling in the gaps. For example, specifics on reimbursement or licensing changes are usually done by the likes of CMS, FDA, HRSA or state departments of insurance.
Changes are done via rulemaking, which are found in the federal or state register. Through proposed rules, agencies give stakeholders an opportunity to comment on a rule change, which starts a certain timed process.
Participation in agency rulemakings are key because these rules affect the finer points of your operation. Additionally, not knowing about a change in these critical rules can oftentimes result in adverse action from an agency like a fine or a warning letter if your compliance is not up to date.
Frier Levitt Government Affairs (FLGA) guides healthcare and life sciences stakeholders through the regulatory comment process. FLGA looks at your business model, monitors for proposals that will impact you, and counsels you on strategic next steps. Additionally, healthcare and life sciences stakeholders will get the benefit of working with boutique healthcare law firm Frier Levitt, LLC, who will help ensure that your company stays compliant with any news rules that are promulgated.
FLGA offers a hybrid service flexible with an organization’s changing needs. We monitor and forecast regulatory issues of importance in a concise, easy to understand and time friendly format. Our monitoring and forecasting services allow stakeholders to stay educated and engaged on new developments before the trends become mainstream.
With regulations changing all the time, it is imperative for healthcare and life sciences stakeholders and organizations to be proactive instead of reactive. Contact Frier Levitt Government Affairs today to get “in the know” and finally be prepared for regulatory changes ahead.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a proposed rule targeting accrediting organizations titled: Medicare Program; Accrediting Organizations-Changes to Change of Ownership.
This proposed rule would add requirements and a specified process to address changes of ownership as they relate to the sale, transfer, and/or purchase of assets of Accrediting Organizations (AOs) with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-approved accreditation programs. This change is intended to provide CMS the ability to receive notice when an AO is contemplating undergoing or negotiating a change of ownership and the ability to review the AO’s capability to perform its tasks after a change of ownership has occurred. This is in order to insure the ongoing effectiveness of the approved accreditation program(s) and to minimize risk to patient safety.
The deadline to submit comments to HHS July 1, 2019.
Accrediting organizations that transfer, purchase, or sell assets, it is pertinent to participate in this proposed rule to alert CMS about your abilities to perform your tasks once a change in ownership has occurred.
Frier Levitt Government Affairs works with Accrediting Organizations to participate in the comment period several different ways. Contact FLGA for help in having your voice heard.
Frier Levitt Government Affairs (FLGA) has been made aware of a recent CBO report regarding a proposed rule on Rebate Safe Harbor. Here is what stakeholder need to know:
What is the proposed rule and what does it do?
HHS Secretary Azar proposed a new rule that will eliminate a Safe Harbor to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute that provides legal protection for rebate arrangements allowing drug makers to pay PBMs to secure their drugs position on PBMs’ Medicare formularies. The goal of eliminating this Safe Harbor, and replacing with a new one, is to ultimately lower prescription drug prices for patients and Medicare and to upend the complicated structure for how drugs are priced. If passed, the proposed rule has the potential to dramatically impact pharmacies’ acquisition price and pharmacy reimbursement rates. It could also potentially alter distributor profit margins, as well as impact the commercial space.
In addition to eliminating the current Safe Harbor, the proposed rule also creates a new Safe Harbor protecting discounts offered to patients at the pharmacy counter and would also protect fixed fee services arrangements between manufacturers and PBMs. The impact of such fixed fee service arrangements is another aspect stakeholders must carefully consider.
What did the CBO Report Reveal About the Proposed Rule?
Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of the proposal and found that the proposed rule would increase Part D premiums and federal spending by $177 billion between 2020 and 2029. Interestingly, CBO stated that it “expects that rather than lowering list prices, manufacturers would offer the renegotiated discounts in the form of chargebacks.”
Who is the CBO?
The CBO is a crucial and highly influential voice in determining how policy is developed by looking solely at the cost Congressional bill or a regulatory agency’s proposal. According to the CBO, the CBO since 1975 has been produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process. Each year the agency’s economists and budget analysis produce dozens of reports and hundreds of costs estimates for proposed legislation. The CBO is strictly nonpartisan. It conducts objective, impartial analysis and hires employees without inquiring about political affiliation. They do not make policy recommendations, and each report summarizes the method underlying the analysis.
At this point the direction of the rebate rule is unknown. The comment period closed on April 8th and we are currently waiting for information from HHS. There are rumors on the Hill that due to the costs of this rule, there may be hesitation to continue forward with it. There has also been talk of a potential policy around out of pocket spending caps in Medicare Part D, as well as the discussion of drug importation in the wake of Florida’s latest legislative enactment.
With so much uncertainty in Congress and in the state legislature, it can be tempting to feel overwhelmed and not plan anything at all. While the status quo may feel comfortable, it will eventually change and you need to be ready. FLGA has its finger on the pulse of the various moving federal and state policy parts. Contact FLGA today to discuss the next steps for you or your organization.
Earlier this month, Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Azar announced a final rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requiring direct-to-consumer television advertisements for prescription pharmaceuticals covered by Medicare or Medicaid to include the list price – the Wholesale Acquisition Cost – if that price is equal to or greater than $35 for a month’s supply or the usual course of therapy. This policy comes from the American Patients First Blueprint to reduce drug costs.
Lately, the culprit behind higher drug prices has been sharply debated. Some in the manufacturing community point to two issues: better science and rebate pressure. Improved patient outcomes due to scientific advances justifies higher prices, especially since near curative prescription drugs lead to a possible decrease in future healthcare costs. Additionally, manufacturers have rightly been pointing to the pressures by PBMs to increase rebates or face the potential of having certain drugs either removed from the formulary or in the alternative, subjected to increased formulary competition.
While the life sciences industry understands the complexities surrounding drug prices, many state and federal policymakers do not. Hence, there have varied and sometimes disproportionate responses to higher drug prices, which may not solve the problem.
There are many opportunities for manufacturers on the state and federal level to help alleviate policymaker concerns about drug prices, while also helping to provide a grounded response to ensure a stable market that promotes patient access.
Frier Levitt Government Affairs is active on the state and federal level, including both legislative and regulatory developments concerning drug prices. If you are a manufacturer, contact Frier Levitt Government Affairs today for help maximizing your existing resources to get control of the growing drug pricing issue.