Government Affairs Update
This Week in Washington D.C.
As reported in last week’s Government Affairs Update, the House of Representatives voted to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR), on September 22. The Senate then followed, voting to pass the CR on Wednesday, September 30. On Thursday, October 1, in the early morning hours, the President signed the CR to keep the federal government funded through December 11, 2020, averting a government shutdown.
Shortly after midnight on October 2, the President announced that he and the First Lady had tested positive for the coronavirus. Later in the day, the President was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to receive treatment. At the time of this writing, it has been announced that the President is expected to be released this evening.
Several Members of the Senate have also tested positive for the coronavirus. As a result of this circumstance, this past weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced the Senate would be in session briefly today and then will not be back in session until October 19. Leader McConnell said the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett will begin as scheduled on October 12, as hearings can be conducted virtually. It is important to note, however, Senate rules require in-person voting.
In the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA) and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, continue to negotiate another coronavirus relief package, however, at this time an agreement has not yet been reached.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) will continue to monitor legislative developments and provide updates.
National Public Health Emergency Extension
On Friday, October 2, 2020, the Secretary of Health and Human Services signed a renewal of the National Public Health Emergency (PHE) Declaration. This Declaration will become effective on October 23, 2020, and will extend the PHE for 90 days until January 21, 2021. It is important to note, this extension will continue the current Medicare waivers and other flexibilities for another 90 days. This development is also important as it relates to proposed changes in this year’s Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule. In the proposed rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks to create a new temporary covered category of telehealth services providing Medicare coverage until the end of the calendar year in which the PHE is terminated. Given the extension of the PHE, if the policy is finalized as proposed, this category of codes will be covered until at least the end of 2021. AANP will continue to provide updates as they become available.
2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule — Comments Close Today
On August 3, 2020, CMS released the proposed rule for the 2021 calendar year Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. CMS released a fact sheet highlighting certain provisions of the proposed rule. Notably, CMS is proposing to permanently authorize nurse practitioners (NPs) to be reimbursed for the supervision of diagnostic tests (currently authorized during the PHE) for Medicare beneficiaries.
Today, October 5, 2020, is the last day to comment. Please submit your comments by 11:59 p.m. ET using the AANP Advocacy Center. Support the authorization for NPs to supervise diagnostic tests for Medicare patients.
NASEM Releases "Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine" Report
On Friday, October 2, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released a final report of a consensus study entitled “Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine.” The report makes recommendations to federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments on a framework for equitable allocation upon the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine. The report is not an official government publication though it was sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. The study was conducted by the “Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus.” The report is available on the NASEM website.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Announces Availability of Phase 3 Provider Relief Funding
HHS has announced that beginning Monday, October 5, an additional $20 billion will be available through the Provider Relief Fund. The application period for this funding will be open through November 5, 2020. Providers who were not eligible for previous rounds of funding, as well as providers who previously received funds, are eligible for Phase 3. Information for determining eligibility for Phase 3 funds, as well as information on the application process, is available on the HHS provider relief fund site.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Expands COVID-19 Testing Efforts in Underserved Communities
NIH released $234 million in funding for the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Underserved Population (RADx-UP) Program. According to the NIH, RADx-UP will focus on populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These groups include African Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Latinos/Latinas, Native Hawaiians, older adults, pregnant women and those who are homeless or incarcerated. More information on the existing partnerships supported by the funding, and the goals of the RADx-UP program, are available on the National Institutes of Health webpage.
CMS Publishes Radiation Oncology Model FAQs
CMS has announced a new Radiation Oncology Innovation Model for patients receiving radiotherapy. Subsequent to the announcement, CMS published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the CMS innovation Radiation Oncology Model webpage.
NP Community Position on the Revised Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Licensure Compact
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) adopted a revised version of the APRN Compact in August despite significant opposition to its provisions from AANP and other nursing organizations. AANP does not endorse the revisions or support adopting the revised APRN Compact in states. Read AANP’s position statement and the joint statement from the NP Roundtable on the revised APRN Compact.
Florida Board of Nursing Set to Convene on Rulemaking for APRN Practice, Primary Care
The Florida Board of Nursing is scheduled to meet Thursday, October 8, and Friday, October 9, to discuss a range of matters that may impact APRN practice, including a special rulemaking workshop on proposed changes to Rule 64B9-4.001 to update a definition of primary care. The agenda also includes Rule 64B9-14.020, FAC — Autonomous Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Registration. AANP will continue to monitor the regulatory environment in Florida update members.
NP Legislation: Advocating to Remove Federal Barriers
As the end of the 116th Congress begins to draw to a close, it is critical that federal legislators understand the importance of removing barriers to NP care. Utilize the AANP Advocacy Center to send messages to your elected officials, urging their support for these pro-NP legislative efforts.
As always, your Federal and State Government Affairs teams are available to answer any questions. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Federal Government Affairs Team Members:
MaryAnne Sapio, VP Federal Government Affairs
Debra Swan, Associate VP Federal Government Affairs
Jessica Talbert, Director of Federal Advocacy
Franklin Harrington, Director of Reimbursement and Regulatory Affairs
Adam Horgan, Regulatory Affairs Analyst
Nick Rumberger, Director of Operations, Office of Government Affairs
Jan Towers, Senior Health Policy Consultant
State Government Affairs Team Members:
Tay Kopanos, VP State Government Affairs
Jamie Kings, State Policy Analyst
Ashley Shew, State Policy Analyst
Julia Dieperink, State Policy Coordinator
The AANP Government Affairs Update is sent weekly to update and inform our members about AANP activities, initiatives, programs and events. Any reproduction or republication of material contained in this newsletter is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from AANP.
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