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Aimed Monthly, Volume 1, Issue 5

Welcome to Volume 1, Issue 5 of Aimed Monthly! In this issue, we're excited to announce the launch of our new website and brand design! We also have some legislative updates for you as many states wrap up their legislative sessions.

Highlights

Hitting Refresh
We have been hard at work on a website redesign and a complete rebranding of Aimed Alliance. Take a tour of our new website and let us know what you think!
 
Skipping a Step in Oklahoma and Virginia
Last month, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed SB 509 into law, which allows patients to be exempted from step therapy protocols required by insurers. In March, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed similar legislation into law. These new laws will require health insurers to ensure that patients have access to a clear and convenient process for requesting an exception to a step therapy protocol. They also specify situations in which an insurer must grant a step therapy exception request.
 
A Wasteful Reversal 
We recently learned of a policy decision enacted by the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing that will prohibit reimbursing health care providers for medication that remains in a single-use vial after it is administered for a patient. Colorado providers have historically been reimbursed for discarded medication that remains in a single-use vial. Stakeholders are concerned about the impact that this could have on Medicaid beneficiaries, and Aimed Alliance signed onto a letter voicing our opposition to this policy change.
 
Terrifying Tactics in Tennessee 
Last month, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed SB 352 into law, which takes steps to rein in frightful and aggressive trial attorney advertisements that warn people about possible dangers that could be associated with the medications that they are taking. In some instances, consumers have stopped taking their medications as a result of viewing these types of ads, which exposes them to negative health risks. Similar legislation is being considered in Texas.

Events

  • The Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA) is hosting a Cardiovascular Health Policy Summit in Washington, DC on May 16, 2019 from 9am to 3pm at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. More information and RSVP instructions can be found here.
  • The Partnership to Improve Patient Care (PIPC) and The Coelho Center on Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation will be hosting a policy briefing on May 20, 2019 from 12pm to 2pm. This briefing will focus on the dangers that value metrics, such as the Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY), present for people living with disabilities. More information and RSVP instructions can be found here.

Where We've Been

  • On April 10, 2019, Aimed Alliance Counsel Stacey L. Worthy spoke on a panel at the 4th Annual National Policy and Advocacy Summit on Biologics and Biosimilars hosted by the Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA). Stacey’s panel was titled “Innovative Engagement: Talk with Payers,” and she discussed advocacy strategies that can be used with health care payers and employers. A recap of this event is available here.
  • On April 23, 2019, Aimed Alliance Staff Attorney John A. Wylam presented about step therapy enforcement at a Collaborating for Care meeting in Washington, D.C. John’s slides are available here.
  • On April 29, 2019, Aimed Alliance co-hosted a webinar with the Derma Care Access Network (DCAN) tailored towards employers. Staff Attorney John A. Wylam and Aimed Alliance Counsel Stacey L. Worthy jointly presented on this webinar, discussing discrimination affecting employees with disabling dermatological conditions. A recording of this webinar can be found on our website.
  • On May 3, 2019, Aimed Alliance Staff Attorney John A. Wylam spoke at a Hill Briefing hosted by Amarin. During this briefing, Mr. Wylam presented on utilization management practices and how they can interfere with the achievement of broad public health objectives, such as addressing residual cardiovascular risk. John’s slides can be found here.

Legislative Update

  • On May 2, 2019, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam vetoed SB 1689, which would have allowed for further expansion of Association Health Plans in Virginia.

In Case You Missed It

  • On May 1, 2019, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its lengthy report regarding single-payer health care options, which included policy details that policymakers must consider when designing a national health plan. This report was produced at the request of the House Rules Committee’s Chairman, Rep. John Yarmuth. This report revealed some reasons for the costliness of the current U.S. health care system. Notably, commercial insurers reimburse providers at rates that are 89% higher, on average, than the Medicare reimbursement rate, while Medicare only spends 1.4% of its total budget on administrative expenses while commercial insurers spend, on average, 12% of their total costs on administrative expenses. Modern Healthcare recently published an informative article analyzing the report’s findings.
  • On May 6, 2019, Talal Hilal, MD authored an opinion piece published by The Health Care Blog, calling attention to the prevalence to burnout among health care practitioners, particularly among those under 35. Dr. Hilal lamented the rise of industrialized medicine and how it has led to a loss of autonomy for both patients and doctors. These findings mirror what we discovered in the National Survey of Primary Care Physicians that we conducted in 2018, which revealed that 48 percent of primary care physicians are considering leaving practice due to unhappiness with the profession.
  • Attempts to implement work requirements in state Medicaid programs in recent history have been met with outrage and frustration from patient advocacy groups. Following the recent District Court ruling that halted the implementation of work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky, New Hampshire has chosen to move ahead with implementing the work requirements proposed in its recent Sec. 1115 Waiver application to CMS. Patient advocates have responded to this by suing the federal government to prevent the work requirements from being implemented, and New Hampshire has requested to join the suit to defend the proposal.
Contact Us
Questions, comments, suggestions, or feedback? Send us an email.
Copyright © 2019 Aimed Alliance, All rights reserved.


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