ACOInformation March 2022


7 • American College of Osteopathic Internists

ACOI Info • March 2022

Timothy McNichol, JD RELATIONS

As previously noted, the final package did not include $15.6 billion in additional funds to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue will be monitored closely as negotiations continue. Top Health Care Watchdog Confirmed The Senate recently confirmed Christi A. Grimm as Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She will oversee 1,600 auditors, law enforcement agents, and management experts tasked with rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse within HHS. With a $1.3 trillion budget for HHS, oversight is essential. Ms. Grimm is a longtime civil servant who came under attack by the previous Administration for a released survey that recognized the challenges faced by hospitals in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her nomination was approved by voice vote without opposition. She has served in both Democratic and Republican Administrations since 1999. COVID-19 National Emergency Extended The Administration recently extended the COVID-19 national emergency declaration that was set to expire on March 1.

Included in the package is $108.3 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Mandatory spending for Medicare and Medicaid brings HHS funding to a total of $1.3 trillion for fiscal year 2022. A few health-related highlights of the funding package include the following: • $3.3 billion in discretionary funds for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) • Regulatory authority provided to the FDA to regulate synthetic nicotine • Funds to address the opioid crisis • Funds provided to enhance medical supply chain surveillance • $1 billion to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) under HHS • $1.3 billion to address the health care workforce shortage • A 151-day blanket extension of pandemic telehealth waivers after the Public Health Emergency (PHE) expires; and • Prohibits the use of funds to block states from implementing their medical marijuana laws.

Washington in Brief Activity continues to increase in Washington. President Biden delivered his State of the Union address where he called for efforts to reduce the cost of prescription medications and nursing home reforms, among other things. The House and Senate approved, and the President signed into law, a $1.5 trillion spending package that funds the government through September 30. Prior to approval of the package, negotiations led to the removal of $15.6 billion in additional emergency funds to develop and buy coronavirus products. Negotiations continue to explore additional funds to respond to the pandemic through a stand- alone package. The ACOI will continue to monitor any legislative action that impacts you and the patients for who you provide care. $1.5 Trillion Spending Bill Signed into Law The President signed into law a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package that funds the federal government through September 30, 2022. The omnibus package includes 12 regular spending bills and ends more than five months of short-term patches used to keep the government open.



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