AAOS Advocacy in Action

Succeeded in getting greater flexibilities for providers who’ve received funding under the Paycheck Protection Program including a longer time period for spending the funds.
Applauded introduction of new medical liability legislation that would protect healthcare workers and facilities at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic from lawsuits.
Received a response from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding the COVID-19 Accelerated and Advance Payment program, which was replaced with an extension of the Provider Protection Act that gives practices grants based on Medicare billing.
The Bone Beat New Episode
Conversations on health policy issues affecting musculoskeletal care…

Special Episode: CMS Regulatory Response to COVID-19

In this second add-on episode dedicated to COVID-19, Dr. Marion Couch from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) shares details on the agency’s response to the pandemic. She covers the sweeping regulatory changes made to support America’s health care system, the gradual resumption of non-emergent surgeries and procedures, as well as COVID-19’s potential long-term effects on various value-based programs in what she is calling the greatest transformation of medicine that we’ve seen in the last century.

Listen to the episode

Legislation Introduced to Protect Healthcare Workers from Lawsuits

Representatives Phil Roe, MD (R-Tenn.), and Lou Correa (D-Calif.) recently introduced legislation that offers long-awaited protections for healthcare responders and facilities at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan Coronavirus Provider Protection Act (H.R. 7059) would protect those who have answered the call to serve from the unnecessary risk of lawsuits for services provided in good faith during the public health emergency or within 60 days of its termination. Additional actions covered by the bill would include those taken based on direction or guidance from any federal, state, or local official/department/agency as well as those taken due to a lack of resources attributable to the declared emergency. The AAOS applauded introduction of the bill as part of the Health Coalition on Liability and AccessRead the coalition press release…

HHS Provider Relief Fund Attestation Deadline Fast-Approaching

Tomorrow, June 3 is the deadline to submit revenue/loss information to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Provider Relief Fund application portal Providers may have already received payments automatically from the first tranche ($30 billion) of this fund, but have not yet submitted tax information to the application portal. This tax information is required to determine the total payment, including additional funds available through the second tranche ($20 billion). June 3 is the last day to either reject the funds already received from the Provider Relief Fund, or attest to/reject funds already received and submit tax information on the application portal for consideration of a total eligible payment. Providers have 90 days to access the attestation portal, where they can view this updated total and determine if they would like attest to the terms and conditions or reject them.  Learn more about the Provider Relief Fund…

House Approves Changes to Paycheck Protection Program

Last week, the House of Representatives voted nearly unanimously to pass changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. The bipartisan legislation, called the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 6886), would give small businesses more time to use emergency loans under the program by extending the eight-week period during which they must use the emergency funds to qualify for loan forgiveness to 24 weeks. Additionally, the bill would change the 75/25 ratio requiring businesses to use 75 percent of the money for payroll costs and no more than 25 percent for other costs to 60/40. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated on Monday that the Senate will “soon” take up the House version of this bill.  See full text of the bill…


AAOS Urges Health Plans to Suspend Prior Authorization

The AAOS, as part of the Regulatory Relief Coalition, recently published an open letter to all health plans calling for the suspension of regulatory barriers to care until the healthcare delivery system returns to normalcy. Specifically, the coalition which includes 13 national physician specialty organizations is urging health plans to suspend prior authorization and step therapy requirements for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19-related services. “By taking this action, health plans will play their part in ensuring that Americans’ access to critical health services is not delayed or denied during the current crisis and its immediate aftermath,” wrote the coalition. The groups continued noting that even under normal conditions, prior authorization and step therapy requirements delay and disrupt vital care for patients. Read the coalition letter…


CMS Finalizes 2021 Changes for Medicare Advantage and Part D

On May 22, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized changes to its Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D plans. Among its changes, the final rule will increase telehealth access for seniors enrolled in MA, expand options of supplemental benefits for MA beneficiaries with chronic diseases, support additional MA options for rural-based beneficiaries, and expand MA access for end-stage renal disease patients. Notably, the agency did not finalize several provisions that it plans to address in future rule-making “given the need to focus our attention on more immediate regulatory actions.” They include changes to the Mandatory Drug Management Programs and biosimilar therapies, among others. The AAOS commented on the proposed rule earlier this spring and compares its position to the finalized provisions in this analysis. See AAOS analysis of the final rule…

What We’re Reading

·         Private Equity Lands Billion-Dollar Backdoor Hospital Bailout (Bloomberg, 6/2)

·         Why some smaller hospitals treating lots of COVID patients aren’t getting ‘high-impact’ federal aid (Modern Healthcare, 6/1)

·         Trump announces U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization (Politico, 5/29)


For questions or concerns on these or other advocacy issues, contact us at dc@aaos.org.

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