American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Bulletin Advocacy Brief: July 1

ACS Submits Comments to FY 2022 IPPS Proposed Rule

This week, the ACS submitted a comment letter in response to the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) proposed rule, which was issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in May. The letter focuses on key elements of the rule, including proposals to update policies related to Medicare graduate medical education for teaching hospitals, annual payment rates for operating room (OR) and non-OR procedures, and changes to various hospital quality programs. The ACS' comments also offer feedback for the agency's requests for information, including recommendations and considerations for ways to address the health equity gap in Medicare quality programs and how to best support CMS' goals to transition to digital quality measurement.

For more information about the proposed rule and College's comments, contact regulatory@facs.org.

Lawmakers Release Cures 2.0 Discussion Draft

Last week, Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI) released a discussion draft of the Cures 2.0 Act, legislation that would build on the landmark 21st Century Cures Act passed in 2015. The draft legislation includes provisions to develop a testing and vaccine distribution strategy to prepare for future pandemics, improve Medicare coverage of innovative technologies, increase diversity in clinical trials, expand the collection and use of real-world evidence by the Food and Drug Administration, provide training and educational programs for caregivers, increase patient access to health information, and increase access to telehealth services. Finally, the bill would establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a medical research agency responsible for accelerating new medical breakthroughs that was first proposed by President Joe Biden in his budget.

Reps. DeGette and Upton are seeking feedback from stakeholders on the draft legislation by July 16, including on where the ARPA-H should be housed and how it should operate. The ACS is preparing comments and expects lawmakers to formally introduce the legislation in late summer or early fall and push for its passage before the end of the year. A section-by-section summary is available here.

For more information, contact Emma Zimmerman, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at ezimmerman@facs.org.

ACS Provides Testimony to Senate Appropriations Committee

The ACS recently provided written testimony to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies as the subcommittee plans for FY 2022 appropriations for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The College outlined several priorities, including $11.5 million for the MISSION ZERO program, increased funding for cancer prevention and research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding specifically for public health research into firearm morbidity and mortality, and removal of a ban that prevents HHS from evaluating a range of patient identification solutions.

For more information, contact Amelia Suermann, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at asuermann@facs.org.

ASPR Secretary Confirmed by U.S. Senate

Dawn Myers O'Connell was confirmed via voice vote as the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the HHS on June 24. Ms. O'Connell served as Deputy Chief of Staff and a Senior Counselor at the agency under the Obama Administration and was the Director for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation. Ms. O'Connell most recently served on the White House COVID-19 taskforce, coordinating HHS' department-wide response.

For more information, contact Amelia Suermann, ACS Congressional Lobbyist, at asuermann@facs.org.