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Second Opinion

Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Bipartisan GME Legislation Introduced to Support the Opioid Workforce

May 18, 2018—Representatives Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Ryan Costello (R-Penn.) and Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) May 15 introduced the Opioid Workforce Act of 2018 (H.R. 5818, S. 2843), legislation that increases by 1,000 the number of Medicare supported residency positions available to teaching hospitals that have or are in the process of establishing approved residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management.

AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, issued a statement in support of the legislation saying, “The addition of these targeted slots would increase the ability of these institutions to train more physicians who are specialized to treat patients with substance use disorders and chronic pain. This important legislation would strengthen the health care workforce serving on the front lines of the nation’s opioid epidemic, and we urge Congress to include it in any final package to combat the opioid crisis.”

Sen. Nelson also issued a press release on the legislation, stating, “Too many Floridians don’t have access to critical treatments for opioid addiction…[w]e need to make sure we have the doctors and resources necessary to help fight this public health crisis.”

In terms of distributing the new residency slots, the legislation sets aside 500 slots for hospitals with established programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management, and sets aside 500 slots for hospitals that are in the process of establishing a program in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management.  Hospitals may also receive slots for the associated number of residents training in a pre-requisite program, such as internal medicine, necessary for the number of full-time residents that will ultimately train in the addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, and/or pain management program.  Hospitals are capped at 25 slots, but a hospital may apply for slots under both the new and existing categories (i.e., a hospital with an established pain management program that is also in the process of establishing an addiction psychiatry program may apply for slots under both the new and existing buckets).

The AAMC submitted a letter of support for the legislation to all sponsoring offices. The House bill was not introduced in time to be included in the Ways and Means Committee markup of opioid related legislation on May 16. The Senate bill sponsors hope to have the legislation included in any upcoming opioid package considered by the Senate Finance Committee.

Contact:

Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281
Email: lmarquez@aamc.org

Catie Spivey, JD
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Gov't Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6042
Email: cspivey@aamc.org

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AAMC Testifies Before House VA Panel Regarding VA Research Partnerships

eMay 18, 2018—Paul Klotman, MD, president, chief executive officer, and executive dean of the Baylor College of Medicine, testified at a May 17 joint hearing of the House Veterans Affairs (VA) Subcommittee on Health and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations entitled “VA Research: Focusing on Funding, Findings, and Partnerships.” In his testimony, Dr. Klotman highlighted the benefits, value, and innovations that result from VA research collaborations with medical schools as well as academic affiliations broadly. 

In his opening remarks, Rep. Neal Dunn, MD, (R-Fla.) who presided over the hearing, questioned whether ongoing VA research was veteran-focused and whether VA’s non-profit corporations (NPCs) should be used more frequently to administer grants form non-VA sources, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). VA Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) highlighted the importance of VA relationships with academic affiliates and expressed concern that VA research funding is not keeping pace with inflation.

Other witnesses included Robin Rusconi, JD, chair of the board of the directors at the National Association of Veterans’ Research & Education Foundations (NAVREF); Carolyn Clancy, MD, executive in charge, Veterans Health Administration; and Rachel B. Ramoni, DMD., ScD, chief research and development officer, Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA witnesses agreed with members of the committee that VA could do a better job publicizing their research priorities and outcomes.

Much of the hearing focused on concern regarding NIH Facilities and Administration (F&A) reimbursement rates when academic affiliates or non-profit corporations (NPCs) administer grants for VA investigators. Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) suggested that dual appointments of VA instigators created a conflict of interest and that academic affiliates were a higher cost option. In response, Dr. Ramoni noted that academic affiliates’ NIH off-campus F&A rates were on par or lower than NPCs when research was performed at the VA.  Dr. Klotman also noted that medical schools’ support and collaborations were a better value with additional resources compared to the NPC.

Meanwhile, the House passed the “VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018” (H.R. 5674) [See Washington Highlights, May 11]. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation before the Memorial Day congressional recess.

Contact:

Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116
Email: mshick@aamc.org

Christa Wagner
Legislative Analyst
Telephone: 202-828-0595
Email: chwagner@aamc.org

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AAMC Submits Letter to Bipartisan Group of Senators on Price Transparency

May 18, 2018—The AAMC May 14 sent a letter detailing the Association’s priorities on efforts to improve price transparency in health care. The letter was sent to Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-La.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in response to their request for information, which they sent earlier this spring.

The Association recommends the following to the Senate:

  • Broaden the conversation about price transparency to include appropriate contextual information, such as quality metrics, risk adjustment, and longer periods of time to account for a complete episode of care, which will allow patients to accurately assess the quality and cost of their treatment;
  • Engage with a variety of stakeholders, including patients, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and others to ensure broad consensus and buy-in from the health care industry. Importantly, engage with insurers who are the most appropriate party to provide a patient’s out-of-pocket costs;
  • Make comprehensive claims data available to all providers;
  • Take into account the unique costs of teaching hospitals to ensure these institutions are not inappropriately penalized for potentially higher costs due to their unique patient mix and standby units.

Neither the six senators who originated the request nor the Senate committees with jurisdiction over price transparency have yet announced potential next steps on the issue.

Contact:

Catie Spivey, JD
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Gov't Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6042
Email: cspivey@aamc.org

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AAMC Submits Joint Letter on NPRM to Further Delay Revised Common Rule

May 18, 2018—The AAMC May 16 submitted a letter co-signed by the Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in response to a request for comments on the April 20, 2018 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to delay the general compliance date for the revised Common Rule to January 21, 2019 [see Washington Highlights, April 20, 2018]. This NPRM follows the January 22, 2018 publication of an Interim Final Rule delaying the regulation’s effective and compliance dates until July 19, 2018 [see Washington Highlights, January 19, 2018].  HHS seeks comment by May 21, 2018, on the new proposed compliance date and whether to allow institutions to implement three “burden reducing” provisions identified in the revised rule prior to the 2019 general compliance date. The NPRM requests comment only on the timing of the implementation of the revised Common Rule, not the substance of the rule’s requirements.

The four associations supported the proposal to delay the general compliance date of the revised regulations until January 21, 2019, and also the proposal to allow the voluntary adoption of three “burden reducing” provisions in the 2018 requirements during the six-month delay period. The associations urged prompt issuance of agency guidance to help ensure consistent interpretation and implementation across institutions, underscoring concerns raised in a June 2017 joint letter to the Office for Human Research Protections that the regulated community would not be able to implement the revised regulations by the initial scheduled compliance date in the absence of key guidance [see Washington Highlights, June 23, 2017].

Contact:

Heather Pierce, JD, MPH
Sr. Director, Science Policy & Regulatory Counsel
Telephone: 202-478-9926
Email: hpierce@aamc.org

Daria C. Grayer, JD, MA
SA- Lead Specialist, Science Policy and Regulation
Telephone: 202-741-5474
Email: dgrayer@aamc.org

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AAMC Supports Amendment Proposing Change in On-site USDA Inspections

May 18, 2018—The AAMC May 15 sent a letter thanking Rep. David Rouzer (R-N.C.) for his amendment seeking to provide the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) more flexibility in the timing of on-site inspections of universities under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).  Specifically, Rep. Rouzer introduced an amendment to H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, which would modify the provision for on-site inspections under AWA to occur at least once every three years, rather than annually, for those university research programs subject to the Act. 

In its letter, the AAMC cited a report from a 2017 workshop held jointly by the AAMC, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), and the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR) to address regulatory burden and effectiveness in the care and protection of animals used in medical research.  This workshop was in response to the 21st Century Cures Act direction to federal agencies to review and revise these regulations.

In thanking Rep. Rouzer, the AAMC noted that the amendment, by increasing the flexibility of federal oversight to focus on areas of most concern, is in line with the recommendations in the 2017 report. The letter notes that “[the associations’] goal [is] to ensure that the regulatory infrastructure enables facilities to more effectively provide care for and to protect the welfare of the animals used in life-saving medical research. We appreciate your amendment, which would help move USDA closer toward this risk-based model, while preserving a strong commitment to animal welfare.” 

The Rules Committee did not include the amendment among those that were considered when members debated H.R. 2 on the House floor. The larger package, H.R. 2, did not gain enough votes to pass the House, 198-213. Lawmakers will need to bring H.R. 2 or other legislation to reauthorize a number of farm subsidies and other related programs to a vote again before the programs expire Sept. 30. 

Contact:

Christa Wagner
Legislative Analyst
Telephone: 202-828-0595
Email: chwagner@aamc.org

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Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on 340B Program

May 18, 2018—The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee May 15 held the second in a series of hearings to examine the 340B Drug Pricing Program [see Washington Highlights, March 16]. Witnesses from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and Government Accountability Office (GAO) both provided recommendations on how to improve and strengthen the program.

In his opening statement, Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) provided an overview of what he hoped to determine during the hearing, including identifying the purpose of the 340B program, whether or not the program is fulfilling its purpose, and if there should be any changes in the law so that it can fulfill that purpose. He stated that he has heard that hospitals and clinics are using the 340B program to benefit low-income patients or serve another worthy objective, but noted, “I’d like to hear more about whether HRSA’s lack of oversight authority has made it difficult for us to have agreement on a common set of data about the 340B program so that we can make such determinations.”

Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) highlighted how many institutions in Washington, including the University of Washington Medical Center, are using their savings from the 340B program to support their local communities. She expressed the need for increased accountability for all participants in the program, stating, “We should be confident that 340B entities are using their savings appropriately and pharmaceutical manufacturers are providing 340B discounts fairly.”

Sen. Murray also referenced an OIG report that found that many drug companies were overcharging 340B participants for prescription drugs and criticized the Trump administration for delaying implementation of a final rule that would alleviate this problem by setting standards on calculating 340B ceiling prices and civil monetary penalties for manufacturers [see Washington Highlights, May 4].

During her testimony, OIG Assistant Inspector General for Evaluation and Inspections Ann Maxwell praised the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) efforts to increase program integrity over the past decade. She also outlined OIG’s recommendations, which include increasing transparency to allow for payment accuracy and clarifying rules to ensure that the 340B program operates as intended. To increase transparency, Maxwell stated that “340B providers and State Medicaid programs need to know the 340B ceiling prices to determine whether they are paying the correct amount.”

GAO Health Care Director Debra Draper, PhD, provided an overview of GAO’s recommendations from its 2011 report and further recommended that HRSA finalize new guidance on the definition of an eligible patient and issue guidance to specify hospital eligibility. Additionally, Draper noted that GAO will issue upcoming reports this summer on contract pharmacies and the characteristics of hospitals participating in the program.

The Senate HELP Committee will hold another hearing on the 340B program with HRSA later this summer.

Contact:

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org

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NIH Director Testifies Before Senate Subcommittee

May 18, 2018—National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, M.D, Ph.D., accompanied by the directors of five NIH institutes, May 18 testified before the Senate Labor-HHS-Education (L-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee regarding the agency’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget proposal. This follows a previous hearing before the House L-HHS Committee in April [see Washington Highlights, April 13].

The subcommittee gave Dr. Collins a warm welcome, including Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) who highlighted that in the last 3 years of working with Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), “we’ve increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by 23 percent.” Sen. Murray also applauded NIH leadership’s work in a time of scientific “promise and challenge”, but also noted disappointment in the last two budget requests, highlighting a specific concern that the FY 2019 budget aims to “arbitrarily slash researchers’ salaries by 20 percent.” [see Washington Highlights, Feb. 16].

In his opening statement, Dr. Collins thanked the committee for their consistent and strong support of NIH, and highlighted five keys to success in science today. These include: a stable trajectory of financial support; a vibrant workforce; computational power; new technology and facilities; and scientific inspiration. He highlighted that the ongoing investment is paying off because early stage researchers are starting to see a stable career trajectory as NIH overcomes a decade-long funding decline when accounting for inflation. Dr. Collins later emphasized the importance of research funding in generating return on investment and local economic impact, citing “$8.38 in return in five years for every dollar allocated to NIH.”

Chairman Blunt and subcommittee members Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked a variety of questions related to the opioid epidemic and innovations into new therapies for addiction and opioid-alternatives for pain management. Some inquired about NIH’s public-private partnership with the pharmaceutical industry in this space. Dr. Collins explained that NIH is working with 33 companies in a thriving partnership. Due to the questions regarding the role of pharmaceutical companies in the origins of the opioid crisis, NIH is not receiving direct cash contributions through the partnerships; rather, the companies are “sharing data, sharing assets, repurposing compounds… and running clinical trials [through the partnerships].”

Additional questions regarding the opioid epidemic focused on neonatal abstinence syndrome, and other health concerns related to the use of fentanyl, including use of multiple addictive substances and mental health comorbidities. Committee members also inquired about NIH’s infectious disease work on Ebola and a universal flu vaccine, as well as how NIH is handling challenges of big data including organizing, sharing, and ensuring security of research data.

Alzheimer’s Disease was another common theme in questioning of NIH witnesses, including questions about research into potential biomarkers and difficulties with clinical trials recruitment. National Institutes on Aging Director Richard Hodes, M.D. thanked the committee for increases for Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias research in the FY 2018 omnibus. He noted the enormous impact of the sustained NIH funding, citing a nearly 300 percent increase in Alzheimer’s-related grants awarded between 2015 and 2017.

Joining Dr. Collins were Walter Koroshetz, M.D., director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Richard Hodes, M.D., director of the National Institute on Aging, Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Ned Sharpless, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute, and Nora Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Contact:

Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525
Email: trasouli@aamc.org

Christa Wagner
Legislative Analyst
Telephone: 202-828-0595
Email: chwagner@aamc.org

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White House Releases Drug Pricing Plan and RFI

May 18, 2018—President Trump May 11 released the outline of his Administration’s plan to lower prescription drug prices, titled “American Patients First: The Trump Administration Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.”  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) May 14 issued a Request for Information (RFI) on the blueprint seeking suggestions to improve the affordability and accessibility of prescription drugs. Responses are due by July 16, 2018.

The blueprint outlines the Administration’s priorities to tackle the problem of rising prescription drug prices.  It identifies four (4) main strategies that HHS may use in order to decrease drug prices – increased competition, better negotiation, incentives to lower list prices and lower consumer out-of-pocket costs.  Highlights of the blueprint are below. 

The RFI specifically solicits stakeholder feedback on the 340B Drug Pricing Program.  HHS is seeking feedback on program concerns such as program growth, program eligibility, and duplicate discounts.  The RFI also requests feedback on general regulatory authority of the 340B Program, including implications of changing the definition of “patient,” covered entity contracts with pharmacies, and registration of off-site outpatient facilities. 

Blueprint Highlights

  • Increased competition

  • Increase prescription drug competition and end the gaming of regulation processes that keep drug prices inflated. 
  • Accelerate FDA approval of generics.
  • Remove the REMS (risk evaluation and mitigation strategies) loophole. 
  • Promote competition in the biologics space and incentivize development of biosimilars.
  • Eliminate pay-for-delay loophole.

 

Better Negotiation

  • Allow Medicare to negotiate prices under Part B and Part D
  • Explore the use of value based purchasing in federal programs, including indication-based pricing (many drugs are used off label) and long-term drug financing (mortgaging drug costs)
  • Revisit the Competitive Acquisition Program in Part B.   
  • Remove protected classes in Medicare part D and only require one drug per category / class.
  • Site neutral payments for Part B drugs, physician administered drugs and difference in reimbursement between inpatient and outpatient settings. 
  • Move some Part B drugs to Part D in an effort to decrease costs. 

Incentives for lowering list prices

  • Create new incentives to reward drug manufacturers that lower list prices or do not increase them.

  • Require manufacturers in include list prices in direct to consumer marketing.
  • Update Medicare’s drug pricing dashboard to hold drug makers accountable for price increases.
  • Reform rebates, including revisiting the safe harbor under the Anti-kickback statute for drug rebates
  • Reform Medicaid Drug rebate Program.  Clarify the definition of brand and OTC medications and limit manufacturer rebates to 100 percent of AMP.
  • Reform 340B Drug Pricing Program.  Potential change to definition of “patient.”   Address duplicate discounts in Medicaid.
  • Change regulations impacting drug copay coupons.

Lowering out-of-pocket costs

  • Lower out-of-pocket costs for consumers at the point of sale.
  • Apply rebates at point of sale.
  • Eliminate cost-sharing on generics for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Prohibit the pharmacy gag clause that prohibits pharmacists from informing consumers about lower OOP options.

Contact:

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org

Mary Mullaney
Director, Hospital Payment Policies
Telephone: 202-909-2084
Email: mmullaney@aamc.org

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Two House Committees Advance Opioid Legislation

May 18, 2018—Two separate committees in the House of Representatives – the Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee – advanced separate opioid packages. The action by the House Energy and Commerce Committee follows a May 9 markup of 26 pieces of legislation, and an April 24 markup of 57 pieces of legislation [see, Washington Highlights, April 27, May 11]. The House Ways and Means Committee had not previously considered any related opioids bills.

The House Ways and Means Committee May 16 advanced seven pieces of bipartisan legislation in its markup. Discussion drafts were released by the committee May 4 and sent to stakeholders for comment and feedback. The discussion drafts were then grouped into “packages” by theme, including prevention and program integrity, beneficiary and patient education, prescriber and provider education, and treatment and innovation. During the markup, Congressman Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) spoke about a bill he recently introduced that was not part of the markup, the “Opioid Workforce Act of 2018” (H.R. 5818, S. 2843). During the markup, Rep. Crowley said “To address this particular crisis facing our nation, I recently introduced the Opioid Workforce Act of 2018, which would more directly increase support for the addiction treatment workforce. This legislation would provide 1,000 additional residency positions to hospitals that have or are establishing residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain management. This bill provides a long overdue investment in our healthcare system infrastructure and workplace development. Without more physicians treating substance abuse disorder, we won’t be able to address the opioid epidemic.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee May 17 held its markup of legislation to address the opioid epidemic. The markup did not include the draft “Medicaid Graduate Medical Education Transparency Act” that had been considered during the April 27 markup [see, Washington Highlights, April 27]. Ultimately the Committee advanced 32 bills including H.R. 5797, the “IMD Care Act” that will allow state Medicaid programs to remove the Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion for Medicaid beneficiaries with an opioid use disorder. The AAMC signed a hospital community letter in support of The Limited Repeal of the IMD Exclusion for Adult Medicaid Beneficiaries with Substance Use Disorder Act, the precursor to the IMD Care Act.

House Leadership has not yet announced next steps for consideration of either Committee’s opioid package.

Contact:

Catie Spivey, JD
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Gov't Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6042
Email: cspivey@aamc.org

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NRSA Stipends Increase by Two Percent

May 18, 2018—The National Institutes of Health (NIH) May 9 issued its fiscal year (FY) 2018 stipend levels for trainees receiving Ruth L Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSAs).  NIH will increase NRSA stipends by approximately two percent on average across stipend levels for undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. Predoctoral yearly stipends have increased to $24,324, and stipends for seven postdoctoral fellow career levels start at $48,432 for the first year and increase to $59,736 at seven years. Amounts for tuition remain unchanged, but the training related expenses and institutional allowance for postdoctoral fellows are increased by $1000 each.

In an Open Mike blog post, NIH Deputy Director of Extramural Research Mike Lauer, MD, explained these changes and also noted that NIH is currently reviewing the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine latest recommendations on postdoctoral stipend increases for post-docs in its Next Generation Researchers report, released April 12, 2018. AAMC supports regular increases to funding for NIH and other Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agency grants to strengthen the research workforce. Sustained growth in the overall NIH budget would permit further increases in the training budget and stipend levels

Contact:

Amanda Field, PhD
Specialist, Science Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0542
Email: afield@aamc.org

Jodi B. (Lubetsky) Yellin, PhD
Director, Science Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0485
Email: jyellin@aamc.org

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NCATS Advisory Council and the CAN Review Board Meeting—Four Concept Clearances Approved

May 18, 2018—The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) Advisory Council and the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) Review Board May 10 held a joint meeting at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, MD. At the meeting, the Council approved the following four concept clearances: CTSA Collaborative Projects Program; Synthetic Technologies for Advancement of Research and Therapeutics (START); Non-PDMS Biocompatible Alternatives for Organs-on-Chips; and Universal Medium/Blood Mimetic for Use in Integrated Organs-on-Chips.

Christopher P. Austin, MD, Director of NCATS, presented several initiatives including the CTSA program’s new Center for Data to Health (CD2H) biomedical research informatics initiative to help make data, software, and other resources more accessible across CTSAs. Additionally, Michael G. Kurilla, MD, PhD, Director, Division of Clinical Innovations noted other CTSA program highlights, including that out of the Clinical Research Forum’s 2018 Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards, four were from CTSA programs.

Dr. Austin also provided updates about NCATS’s partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space on the Tissue Chips in Space initiative, which will use tissue chips at the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory to study the effects of the space environment on human health and disease. On a related note, the Council was informed that in early 2018, NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, appointed Dr. Austin to serve as the new NIH liaison to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In this role, Dr. Austin will continue to advance the partnership between NIH and NASA in conducting space-related biomedical research.

Looking ahead, NCATS is co-sponsoring a workshop with the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research to review gene therapy approaches, identify challenges, and discuss ways to accelerate gene therapy development to benefit patients with rare diseases. The Growing Promise of Gene Therapy Approaches to Rare Diseases workshop will be held August 20-21 at the NIH in Bethesda, MD.

The next joint meeting of the Council and the Review Board will occur September 27, 2018.

Contact:

Anne Berry, MPP
Lead Specialist, Implementation Research & Policy
Telephone: 202-739-2987
Email: aberry@aamc.org

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On the Hill

May 18, 2018—President Trump May 18 nominated Robert Wilkie to be Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Wilkie is currently serving as the acting Secretary. Before his position as acting Secretary, Mr. Wilkie served as the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at Department of Defense.


On the Agenda

May 22: Senate HELP Committee Hearing on Health Care Workforce
10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The Health Care Workforce: Addressing Shortages and Improving Care.”

May 23: Senate HELP Executive Session on Preparedness Legislation
10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold an executive session to discuss pending legislation, S. 2852, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018.

May 23: House Energy and Commerce Hearing on CHGME Reauthorization
1 p.m., 2322 Rayburn Office Building, Washington, D.C.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education Program.” The hearing will consider the companion legislation H.R. 5385, the Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2018.

May 24: Senate Finance Committee Hearing on Rural Health Care
9 a.m., 215 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Rural Health Care in America: Challenges and Opportunities.”

May 24: FOVA Briefing on VA Opioids and Chronic Pain Research
12 p.m., 1310 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
The Friends of VA Medical Care and Health Research (FOVA) will host a Hill briefing on research at the VA. Three VA researchers will present their work on understanding opioids and chronic pain management. Please contact Christa Wagner (chwagner@aamc.org) for more information.

 

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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.


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For More Information

Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org