IHA Daily Briefing: May 11

Friday, May 11, 2018

President Trump Unveils Prescription Drug Blueprint
Kaiser: Healthcare a Top Campaign Trail Issue
Registration Open: Entry-Level Accreditation Training
Did You Know?

President Trump Unveils Prescription Drug Blueprint
In remarks delivered this afternoon, President Donald Trump announced the release of his administration’s blueprint for lowering prescription drug prices and reducing out-of-pocket costs.

“Today, my administration is launching the most sweeping action in history to lower the price of prescription drugs for the American people,” said President Trump. “We’ve wanted to be doing this. We’ve been working on it right from day one. It’s been a complicated process, but not too complicated. And today it’s happening. We will have tougher negotiation, more competition, and much lower prices at the pharmacy counter. And it will start to take effect very soon.”

Among other actions, his proposals call for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) to:

  • Advance biosimilars and generics to boost price competition;
  • Clarify policies for sharing information between insurers and drug makers;
  • Expand outcome-based payments in Medicare and Medicaid;
  • Give Part D plan sponsors more negotiation power with drug makers;
  • Examine which Medicare Part B drugs could be negotiated for a lower price by Part D plans, and improve the design of the Part B Competitive Acquisition Program;
  • Prohibit Part D contracts that include “gag rules” that prevent pharmacists from informing patients when they could pay less out-of-pocket by not using insurance; and
  • Require that Part D plan members be provided with an annual statement of plan payments, out-of-pocket spending and drug price increases.

The blueprint also seeks feedback on other potential actions, including:

  • Requiring safety net hospitals paid under Medicare Part B to use 340B drug discounts to provide care to more low-income and vulnerable patients;
  • Implementing site neutrality for physician-administered drugs;
  • Ending the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid rebate cap;
  • Including drug maker copay discount cards in Medicaid best price calculations;
  • Making changes to the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program rules in an effort to remove barriers to innovation and competition; and
  • Paying for value in Medicare to spur development of drugs that cure illnesses rather than simply manage symptoms.

In his speech, President Trump indicated his administration will work with Congress in the coming weeks to pass legislation aimed at reducing out-of-pocket costs.

For more information, see HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s remarks from this afternoon and a related op-ed by Azar, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.

Kaiser: Healthcare a Top Campaign Trail Issue
Six months ahead of the nation’s midterm elections, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows that healthcare ranks among the top issues voters want to hear their 2018 candidates discuss. For Democrats, healthcare is the top issue (30 percent), slightly ahead of gun policy (28 percent) and the economy and jobs (23 percent). For Republicans, healthcare (15 percent) ranks fourth behind the economy and jobs (24 percent), immigration (22 percent) and gun policy (19 percent).

The poll also notes that larger shares of both Democratic and Republican voters say a candidate’s support for or opposition to President Donald Trump will make the biggest difference in how they vote than say the same about specific national issues like healthcare or local or state issues. For more information, see Kaiser’s press release.

Registration Open: Entry-Level Accreditation Training
You asked, we listened: As requested by members, the IHA/Joint Commission Resources Continuous Service Readiness (CSR) Workshop and Seminar on June 6 will offer a valuable introduction to maintaining compliance with The Joint Commission (TJC) accreditation requirements. Illinois’ own Joint Commission Resources consultant will guide both those new to accreditation and professionals who want a refresher through:

  • Recent changes to accreditation processes;
  • Compliance strategies for TJC’s most challenging accreditation standards;
  • Strategies to evaluate ongoing compliance with accreditation standards; and
  • Prioritizing identified risks according to the likelihood and severity of patient harm using the new Survey Analysis for Evaluating Risk™ (SAFER™) Matrix.

This workshop will benefit managers, directors and executives in compliance, quality improvement, patient safety, risk management, clinical care, and hospital operations. Continuing education credits are available.

IHA members that do not subscribe to the CSR program may attend this workshop for a registration fee of $269 per person. Click here to register.

Did You Know?
The current opioid epidemic isn’t the nation’s first brush with an opioid crisis. In the mid-19th century, drugs like morphine and opium—along with the introduction of the hypodermic syringe, poor medical education and a lack of pain relief alternatives—helped spur an addiction epidemic that affected up to 1 in 200 Americans. Learn more about the history of the crisis and the steps taken to combat it.

Click here for more information on how IHA supports hospital efforts to expand behavioral health services and develop new ways to provide needed care to patients.