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Aimed Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 4

Welcome to Volume 2, Issue 4 of Aimed Monthly. This month’s issue includes the latest regulatory developments regarding COVID-19, a sign-on opportunity, updates on our recent policy and advocacy activities, and our upcoming webinars.

Highlights

COVID-19 Updates
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, a bill that would provide $484 billion in COVID-19 relief funding. If enacted, a large majority ($310 billion) of that funding would be allocated toward the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses that retain their employees. Another $75 billion would be provided to hospitals and health systems, and $25 billion would be for COVID-19 testing.
 
Preliminary data shows that minority patients are disproportionately at risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma announced that CMS intends to release data on COVID-19 outcomes, race, and ethnicity in early May.
 
For more COVID-19 updates, check out our weekly COVID-19 newsletter, which we release on Fridays.
 
For our resources on COVID-19, check out our new initiatives page located here.
Sign-On Opportunity: Ask CMS to Protect Patients at High Risk of Severe Illness from COVID-19
Medical organization and patient advocacy groups still have time to sign on to our letters to CMS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that certain patients with serious underlying conditions are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19. To protect high risk patients, we are asking CMS to issue a 1135 blanket waiver of certain prior authorization and step therapy requirements in Medicare Advantage and Part D plans during the public health emergency. The waiver would permit health care providers to administer or prescribe Part B or Part D medications to treat high-risk beneficiaries, and would allow for the coverage and payment of such medications, without having to comply with the plans’ prior authorization and step therapy requirements.
 
Read the patient advocacy group letter here and the medical association letter here. If you are interested in signing on, contact us at policy@aimedalliance.org by close of business today.
Know Your Rights Brochure for Patients with Arthritis
We recently released a new Know Your Rights brochure for patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, co-sponsored by the Alliance for Balanced Pain Management. The brochure provides an overview of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis diagnoses and treatment, common insurance barriers, and general legal rights that may be available. It also provides details on how to appeal an adverse determination. Read more here.
White Bagging and Brown Bagging Efforts
On April 14, 2020, Aimed Alliance sent a letter to Tennessee lawmakers in support of a bill amendment that would limit insurers’ “white bagging” and “brown bagging” policies. White bagging occurs when health insurers require health care providers to purchase certain medications through specialty pharmacies rather than specialty distributors. Brown bagging occurs when health insurers require patients to purchase their practitioner-administered medications from specialty pharmacies. The specialty pharmacy ships the medication to the patient who must then take the medication back to his or her health care provider’s office for administration. White bagging and brown bagging policies can result in delays in care, medication waste, and increased administrative burdens. Read Aimed Alliance’s letter here.
 
Additionally, on March 26, 2020, Aimed Alliance sent a letter to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) expressing concerns about the insurer’s plan to expand its white bagging policy. Read that letter here.  
Comment on the Competitive Marketplace for Biosimilars
On March 9, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a workshop entitled “FDA/FTC Workshop on Competitive Marketplace for Biosimilars.” On April 9, 2020, Aimed Alliance submitted a comment to the agencies in response to the workshop. Aimed Alliance’s comment addressed efforts to support appropriate adoption of biosimilars, discourage false or misleading statements about biosimilars, and deter anticompetitive behaviors in the biologic marketplace. Read our comment here.
CCSS Coalition Press Release
On April 6, 2020, the Collaborative for CBD Science and Safety (CCSS) officially launched with a mission to bring together stakeholders to exchange information, build alliances around shared interests and priorities, and respond to policies and practices affecting cannabidiol (CBD), research, safety, and quality. Aimed Alliance is pleased to serve as a CCSS steering committee member. To read more about CCSS, click here.
 
To read Aimed Alliance’s position statement on CBD, click here.

Events

  • National Briefing with CDC: Covid-19 and the Chronic Disease Community
    • Aimed Alliance is pleased to serve as a co-sponsor for the Chronic Care Policy Alliance’s “National Briefing with CDC: COVID-19 and the Chronic Disease Community.” This virtual briefing will take place on April 29, 2020 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm eastern and will feature CDC officials and experts representing the chronic disease community. Speakers will discuss how COVID-19 can create a high risk for complications in individuals with chronic conditions. To register for the event, click here
  • IBD Webinar
    • World Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Awareness Day is on May 19 this year. The topic is “Make IBD Work.”
    • In advance of World IBD Awareness Day, please join Aimed Alliance on May 6, 2020 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm eastern for a free webinar titled “Providing Quality Benefits for Employees with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Other Chronic Conditions.” In this webinar, we will be joined by a clinician, a disability and productivity consultant, and an attorney in examining the burdens of IBD in the workplace and ways to reduce those burdens. While the focus of this presentation will be IBD, the recommendations offered will be applicable to employees with most chronic conditions. This webinar will include: 
      • The impact of IBD in the workplace and the negative consequences of receiving improper treatment;
      • Workplace benefits that can assist employees with IBD;
      • Options for workplace accommodations and wellness programs; and
      • Tips from an attorney on preventing discrimination, reducing stigma, and offering comprehensive health coverage.
  • CBD Webinar
    • Aimed Alliance is also offering a free webinar on May 25, 2020 from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm eastern titled “CBD in the Workplace: What Employers Need to Know.” Laws governing CBD products are complex and confusing. To reduce the risk of liability stemming from CBD use in the workplace, employers should take care to implement their own policies and best practices. In this webinar, a chief medical officer and two attorneys will discuss the following topics:
      • Federal and state laws governing CBD products;
      • Challenges associated with employees’ use of CBD in the workplace;
      • Employment-related lawsuits involving CBD;
      • Addressing CBD-related impairment in the workplace;
      • Covering CBD as a health benefit; CBD as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act; and
      • Recommendations for employers.

In Case You Missed It

  • Home Health Fact Sheet
    • Earlier this month, Aimed Alliance released a fact sheet entitled “Expansion of Home Health Services for Medicare Beneficiaries.” The fact sheet explains how a new CMS rule allows health care practitioners and home health agencies to care for Medicare beneficiaries in their homes during the COVID-19 public health emergency. For example, providers are permitted to administer Part B medications to patients who may have COVID-19 or for whom it may be dangerous to leave the house due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read our fact sheet here.
  • Sign-On Letters to State Governors and Medicaid Directors
    • Additionally, Aimed Alliance spearheaded sign-on letters to state governors and Medicaid directors, asking them to expand access to care in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency. In response, we have received positive feedback from officials in several states, including Ohio, Montana, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Vermont. Read sample letters to Medicaid directors here and governors here.
Contact Us
Questions, comments, suggestions, or feedback? Send us an email.
Copyright © 2020 Aimed Alliance, All rights reserved.


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