June 16, 2021

Volume XI, Number 167

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McDermottPlus Check-Up: May 7, 2021

McDermott+Consulting is pleased to provide the McDermottPlus Check-Up, your regular update on health care policy from Washington, DC.

This Week’s Dose

The Administration endorsed waiving intellectual property protections for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines and announced a new program that will reimburse providers for vaccine administration fees. 

Administration

White House Announced Support for Waiving Vaccine Patent Protections. The Office of the US Trade Representative endorsed waiving patents and other intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines to aide vaccine production worldwide. Many congressional Democrats have called on the Administration to help expand vaccine supply in other nations, but the Administration’s support of the waiver is sure to face substantial pushback from the pharmaceutical industry that argues it will harm competitiveness and strain the supply chain. The waiver will have to be unanimously approved by the World Trade Organization to take effect, but the Biden Administration’s position will likely put pressure on other countries to support the change. The President also announced this week that the White House will ship 60 million vaccine doses overseas within the next two months.

HHS and HRSA Launched New Program Covering Vaccine Administration Fees. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund (CAF), which will provide reimbursement for non-covered vaccine administration fees through the Provider Relief Fund. Providers can enroll in the CAF program on the HRSA website and submit uncovered claims for vaccines administered on or after December 14, 2020. Prior to submitting claims for reimbursement under the program, providers are required to bill the patient’s health plan and receive confirmation that vaccine administration is non-covered or includes patient cost sharing. The provider can then submit a claim to the CAF program to receive reimbursement at the national Medicare payment rate to cover the cost of the administration. More information is available in the program fact sheet and  educational toolkit.

White House Announced Funds for Older Americans Programs. The Administration will allocate $1.4 billion, provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), to programs aimed at increasing vaccination and providing family caregivers and other healthcare support to older Americans. The law directs $750 million for nutrition programs for seniors, $460 million for Home and Community Based Services, $44 million for health promotion and disease prevention programs, $145 million to support family caregivers and $10 million support state long-term care ombudsman, who advocate on behalf of residents of long-term care facilities. The Administration is expected to continue allocating funds provided by the ARP in the weeks ahead. 

Quick Hits

Next Week’s Diagnosis

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on the COVID-19 response. The Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees will hold hearings on improving mental health and addiction services. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the President’s FY 2022 budget request for HHS. 

© 2021 McDermott Will & EmeryNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 127
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About this Author

Mara McDermott, McDermott Law Firm, Washington DC, HealthCare Law Executive

Mara is an accomplished health care executive with a deep understanding of federal health care law and policy, including delivery system reform, physician payment and Medicare payment models.

Most recently Mara served as the senior vice president of federal affairs at America’s Physician Groups (formerly the California Association of Physician Groups, CAPG), a professional association representing medical groups and independent practice associations practicing in capitated, coordinated care models. As head of the Washington, DC, office, Mara...

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Kristen O’Brien Healthcare Executive McDermott Consulting
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Kristen O’Brien is an accomplished healthcare executive with a deep understanding of regulatory advocacy and healthcare policy efforts.

Kristen offers a strong background and a keen eye for solutions to barriers and challenges impacting healthcare clients. With more than 10 years of experience, her work focuses on implementing new laws through the rulemaking process, as well as working with relevant agency officials to develop and improve agency guidance.

Kristen recently served as Principal of the Health Industry Policy and Regulatory Practice Group at a law and lobbying...

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Katie Waldo Healthcare Attorney

Katie is an experienced government relations strategist who helps clients navigate the complex issues surrounding Medicare, Medicaid and the healthcare marketplace.

Katie works with clients to represent their needs before the US Congress and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its agencies by relying on extensive experience as a policy advisor on the Medicaid and Medicare programs, as well as the 340B program and other aspects of the Public Health Service Act. She anticipates the effects of state and federal policymaking on issues impacting their businesses and...

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Government Relations Professional and Registered Lobbyist

Emma is a government relations professional and registered lobbyist who supports clients on a range of health policy issues.

As a policy consultant, Emma lobbies and consults with legislators and congressional staff on issues relating to Medicare, Medicaid payment and regulation, and the 340B Drug Pricing Program. She provides analysis of the federal political and regulatory environment, and routinely monitors pertinent Hill activities including congressional hearings, bill markups and think tank events.

Emma graduated...

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