Health Policy News – September 2021

Welcome back, Health Policy News readers! We hope you enjoyed the end of the summer. With fall conference season in full swing, this month’s edition features two updates from recent health policy conferences: the annual conference of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), as well as the 2021 National Association of Medicaid Program Integrity (NAMPI) conference. While both conferences were held virtually, they included timely and cutting-edge content attendees have come to expect.

Also in this edition, you’ll find an update on the final update to the 2022 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters, first reported on this summer.

In the coming weeks, the HPN team will be releasing a follow up piece to last years’ white paper, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Ten Years Later: States Take the Lead.” This fall’s white paper will explore the health policy goals and priorities of the administration post-Texas v. California, and as we learn to live in a COVID-19 world. As in past years, our team will host an interactive webinar that will dive into the white paper’s main topics, while also providing time for a Q&A with our panel of subject matter experts. Stay tuned to HPN for information on how to join the webinar!

NASHP Conference Features COVID-19 Updates and Forward-Looking Policy Discussions

This year’s annual NASHP conference was once again held virtually and featured a thoughtful mix of insights related to state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and forward-looking policy efforts on other key health policy topics. PCG attendees share insights from the conferences that reflect this balance.

COVID-19 Action at the State Level

Of the many interesting COVID-19-related panels at this year’s NASHP conference, one standout was “Quantum Leap: Long Term Services Post-COVID-19,” which examined the impact of COVID-19 on long-term services and support (LTSS) and provided an overview of state approaches to investments aimed to support the LTSS clientele and workforce. This panel provided lessons learned from leaders in Washington state and Connecticut from their efforts to both rebalance the systemic imbalances precipitated by COVID-19 and invest funds in a way that leads to “quantum leaps” in the delivery of LTSS.

The Future of Telehealth and Prescription Drug Cost Control

Speakers from across the country shared insights on these two topics, which are top of mind for health policymakers. Panelists from Washington state, Massachusetts, Nebraska and New Mexico reflected on the future promise of telehealth, as well as its critical policy challenges and considerations, and explored topics including accessibility and payment rates, technology vehicles, network adequacy and the unique nature of third-party vendors.  Panelists from New York state, Maryland and Colorado shared updates on their states’ efforts related to prescription drug prices, with a focus on drug review boards. New York shared its success in leveraging its board to attain supplemental rebates, while Maryland and Colorado shared updates on the launch of their Boards’ efforts.

To learn more about these topics, click here.

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NAMPI 2021: Advancing Medicaid Program Integrity in the Current Environment

September also brought the 2021 NAMPI virtual conference, which featured presentations regarding new and evolving fraud, waste, and abuse (FWA) schemes, as well as approaches to identifying and eliminating them. Many of these discussions revolved around the COVID-19 pandemic. For insight into the topics covered at the event, as well as deep dives into sessions on oversight of Pharmacy Benefit Managers and innovating techniques to optimize cost avoidance and recovery, click here.

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The Department of Health and Human Services Finalizes Third Exchange Rule for 2022

The Department of Health and Human Services finalized the third part of the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) for 2022 this month. This rule—which was previewed in Part 2 of the final 2022 NBPP—is the Biden Administration’s first independent Exchange rule. The rulemaking addresses guidance that was previously finalized by the Trump administration and represents a reset similar to what we saw when President Trump issued the Market Stabilization Rules after entering office. For more information on the major policy changes finalized in the rule, including those related to Exchange user fees, assistance, and enrollment and Section 1332 Waiver requirements, as well as a preview of the 2023 NBPP, click here.

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