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Secretary Price Applauds Senate Proposal to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 11:30

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                                              CLICK HERE to watch the video

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. issued the following statement in support of the Senate’s proposal to protect patients, bring down the cost of insurance coverage, and expand healthcare choices:

“Under Obamacare, premiums have skyrocketed across the country – on average doubling what Americans are paying for health insurance coverage. Because of these rising costs, millions of Americans have dropped their unaffordable coverage and others have been forced to pay a penalty to Uncle Sam just for the right to go without. Patients, doctors, job creators, and Americans from all walks of life are being harmed and losing access to affordable coverage and the care they need. We have heard their voices. Dudley Bostic, the owner of a local pharmacy in Tennessee, recently explained how access to affordable healthcare is disappearing for so many in her community. And Dr. Ryan Stanton from Kentucky shared the importance of putting patients and doctors in charge of healthcare, not Washington D.C., and protecting the doctor-patient relationship.

“That’s why we welcome the Senate’s proposal to provide Americans with much needed relief from Obamacare. The Senate’s proposal is built on patient-centered reforms that put the American people in charge of their healthcare decisions, not government, protecting patients, bringing down the cost of coverage, and expanding choices.

“The Trump Administration is committed to the health of all Americans. Here at the Department of Health and Human Services, we have already taken steps to reduce Obamacare’s burdens for the American people. You can learn more about HHS actions to lower premiums and protect patients by visiting hhs.gov/relief.”

 

 




Readout of Secretary Price’s Healthcare Listening Session with Individuals Facing Lack of Coverage

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 10:15

Yesterday, at the White House, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., hosted a listening session with Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), to hear from individuals who are facing a lack of choice in healthcare plans due to insurers pulling out of Obamacare marketplaces. Secretary Price opened the meeting by welcoming participants from Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio to the White House. He thanked them for sharing their stories and thanked President Trump for his focus on fixing healthcare in America. Administrator Verma, Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, and Assistant to the President, Omarosa Manigault, all voiced their and the President’s commitment to put in place a healthcare system that offers real, affordable choices to the American people. “The individual small group markets, as you well know, where Americans buy insurance for themselves, the premiums and deductibles are increasing significantly and pricing folks really out of the market,” said Secretary Price. “A lot of people have an insurance card, but they don’t have any care because of the prices for deductibles. This challenge is an inherent challenge that exists because of the flaws within Obamacare, within the ACA. It’s not because of something else going on out there. It’s because of the structural flaws. And even with these higher prices, and the changes that have been put in place, insurers continue to flee the market. They continue to leave some coverage opportunities and get less and less. It’s happening all across the country, particularly in the states where you all are from.” Secretary Price noted that premiums have risen 86% in Ohio, 145% in Missouri, and 110% in Iowa since Obamacare was implemented and that these states have had major insurer exits and almost non-existent choices. Many individual participants told real-life stories of how these factors have negatively impacted themselves, their families, their businesses, and their communities. “The fact of the matter is that all those numbers reflect real people,” said Secretary Price. “This is about real folks; this is about real people’s lives. And the stories that we’ve heard at this table and around the country have been remarkably moving. I appreciate you participating and coming today to share your stories. At the Health and Human Services Department, the department that I’m privilege to lead, we are going through every single rule and every single regulation that was promulgated pursing the previous law. To make certain we determine whether it helps patients or harms patients? Does it cost more or does it cost less? And we’re going to make certain that we move those in the right direction. Which is helping patients and driving down costs.” Around the table, many expressed their concerns that because of Obamacare, more insurers would exit their markets, leaving them with no choices in bare counties or only one choice for health insurance. This was particularly of concern to the individual participants who have pre-existing conditions. Secretary Price noted that in his joint address to Congress, President Trump committed to ensuring those Americans with pre-existing conditions continue to have access to coverage and that we need a system with choices to ensure patients have the care that is most responsive to their needs, not that Washington forces them to buy. Many individual participants also told stories about how many insurers have exited their marketplaces and left only one choice for coverage.  They told the Secretary that just because they have an option for coverage, they cannot afford the one “choice.” Secretary Price thanked the participants for coming to Washington, D.C. to share their stories and reaffirmed the Administration’s commitment to reduce Obamacare’s burdens by providing the American people with the highest quality healthcare system. The following individuals participated: Dr. Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services Seema[...]



Secretary Price Meets with Opioid Addiction Specialists, Providers, and Treatment Facilities Stakeholders

Monday, June 19, 2017 - 22:00

Combating the opioid crisis is one of the top priorities President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. have identified for the Department. Earlier today, Secretary Price hosted two listening sessions with stakeholders to gather recommendations for ways to address the opioid epidemic. The Secretary recently visited Michigan, West Virginia, Maine, and New Hampshire—part of an HHS listening tour on America’s opioid crisis—where he has talked face-to-face with people who are on the front lines of this crisis. In a recent blog post he wrote about the listening tour:

 “… we’re looking up and down the federal government and asking ourselves what we can do – and what we can do better – to amplify and support the work of the men and women on the front lines of this battle. The only way the federal government can be an effective and capable partner to state and local officials is by first listening to and learning from them. That’s why our listening tour is so important…

Today’s meetings were a continuation of the Secretary’s national listening tour. In the morning, Secretary Price met with addiction specialists and providers and in the afternoon, he met with representatives of treatment facilities.

Many stakeholders, including representatives of faith-based organizations, from across the country told their stories around the most effective methods of treating patients with substance abuse. Participants explained their frustrations regarding treatment resources and identified the urgent need to coordinate amongst all stakeholders to fight opioid addiction. Many individual participants encouraged the Secretary to increase the number of trained providers who are able to treat opioid use disorder and to allocate resources to those programs that are proven to help those in the most need.

Secretary Price listened to the group’s suggestions and explained that HHS is in a receiving mode, looking for innovative recommendations on how best to combat the opioid crisis. He told the participants about the Department of Health and Human Services’ five-point strategy for how we can best help local communities beat back the epidemic:

  • Improving access to treatment, including medication-assisted treatment, and recovery services;
  • Promoting the targeted availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs;
  • Strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health data and reporting;
  • Providing support for cutting edge research on pain and addiction; and
  • Advancing better practices for pain management.

Secretary Price thanked the participants for their contributions, insights, and for the work they do every single day. He acknowledged there is lots of work to do and he expressed President Trump and the Administration’s commitment and ongoing efforts to address the opioid crisis in America.

The following groups participated in the listening sessions:

  • American Academy of Addiction Psychiatrists
  • American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence
  • American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine
  • Association of Gospel Rescue Missions
  • Catholic Charities USA
  • Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
  • Integrity House
  • National Association of Drug Court Professionals
  • National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
  • New York Therapeutic Communities, Inc.
  • Odyssey House
  • Phoenix House

The Salvation Army




Readout of Secretary Price’s Listening Session with Medical & Healthcare Professionals at the White House

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 11:45

Yesterday, in the White House Cabinet Room, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., hosted a listening session with Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and medical and healthcare professionals to discuss the challenges that patients and providers face under our current healthcare system.

Secretary Price began the meeting by voicing his thoughts and prayers for Majority Whip Steve Scalise and other victims of the attack yesterday morning. He expressed his gratitude to the U.S. Capitol Police and to those who protect us every day for their bravery and willingness to serve. Administrator Verma and Doctors Raymond DeCorte and Joe Uddo, two constituents of Majority Whip Scalise, echoed these thoughts.

Attendees of the listening session included doctors and medical professionals who represent many different specialties. Each shared their unique perspective on how Obamacare has adversely affected their practice and patients. Secretary Price listened to their experiences in complying with overly burdensome Obamacare regulations and treating patients who have either lost their insurance because of Obamacare or who are enrolled in Obamacare, but can’t afford the services they so desperately need. The listening session participants told many similar stories, and each of them stated that now is the time for healthcare reform.

Secretary Price affirmed the Department and President Trump’s commitment to put in place a healthcare system that’s responsive to the needs of patients and a system where doctors, families, and patients are making medical decisions—not Washington, D.C. Secretary Price noted the Administration is committed to improving healthcare in America and to provide individuals and families the relief they so desperately need.

The following individuals participated:

  • Dr. Joseph Abboud – Orthopedic Surgeon, Philadelphia, PA
  • Dr. Ralph Alvarado– Primary Care Doctor and State Senator, Winchester, KY
  • Dr. Robin L. Armstrong – Internist, Houston, TX
  • Dr. David L. Cannon - Orthopedic Surgeon, Germantown, TN
  • Dr. Raymond DeCorte - General Surgeon, Metairie, LA
  • Dr. Ada Fisher – Retired Physician, Salisbury, NC
  • Ms. Tonya Horton – Small Medical Business Owner, Patient, Employer, Bryant, AR
  • Dr. Thomas Little - Cardiologist, Cookeville, TN
  • Dr. Ryan Stanton - Emergency Medical Doctor, Lexington, KY
  • Dr. William Thornbury – Primary Care Physician, Family Practice, Glascow, KY  
  • Dr. Joe Uddo - General Surgeon, Metairie, LA
  • Dr. Jill Vecchio - Radiologist, Denver, CO
  • Dr. Anthony Vintzileos - Obstetrician-Gynecologist, Mineola, NY



Secretary Price Statement on CMS Enrollment and Exchange Reports

Monday, June 12, 2017 - 15:00

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. issued the following statement regarding compelling data released today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in two new reports related to Obamacare – the Effectuated Enrollment report for the most recent enrollment period and the Health Insurance Exchanges Trends report. The reports show a decline in the number of Americans who have actually purchased coverage on the exchanges, with cost being a primary concern.

“Not surprisingly, as costs continue to go up, fewer Americans can afford to pay more and get less for healthcare. Many individuals and families across the country are tired of having their healthcare options dictated to them by Washington – particularly when those limited options are unaffordable. That’s why every day we are working on behalf of President Trump on solutions that will show a little humility from the federal government, equip states to serve their unique and diverse populations, and put healthcare decisions in the hands of patients, families, and their doctors.”




ONC announces winners of Privacy Policy Snapshot Challenge

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 14:45

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced the winners of the Privacy Policy Snapshot Challenge. Winners of this challenge created Model Privacy Notice (MPN) generators that produce a customizable MPN for health information technology (IT) developers, making it easier for consumers to see a product’s privacy and security policies. “Compared to when the original Model Privacy Notice was released in 2011, the consumer-facing health IT market now features a much larger variety of digital health technologies that collect information,” said Genevieve Morris, principal deputy national coordinator for health IT. “The winners designed innovative tools that will help make privacy notices easier for consumers to understand, so they can know how and why their health information is being shared.” The winning generators are: Jason Cronk and Professor Daniel J. Solove’s generator features a side-by-side, live-updating view allowing application developers to see the MPN as they complete the app’s sections. It also clearly shows the developer which sections are completed or require more information. The MPN most successfully combines the clarity and simplicity of a nutrition facts-type label with visual icons that aid comprehension of the privacy concepts. The first-place team, which was awarded $20,000, best specified which terms and language were changed to enhance consumer understanding. 1upHealth’s team uses a side-by-side view that includes live checking of entered information to verify websites and phone number formats. The generated MPN allows for extensive customization, available in HTML, JSON, and Markdown formats. Detailed interviews and usability testing were held to receive consumer feedback. The second-place team was awarded $10,000. MadeClear.io's generator features expandable headers allowing developers to easily see how far they have progressed in completing the MPN. The MPN uses alternating background images that help differentiate the sections and colorful icons that add context to the privacy language. The team’s consumer testing included surveys completed by 30 individuals. The third-place submission was awarded $5,000. The model privacy notice is a voluntary, openly available resource designed to help developers clearly convey information about their privacy and security policies to their users. Similar to the FDA Nutrition Facts Label, the MPN provides a snapshot of a company’s existing privacy practices encouraging transparency and helping consumers make informed choices when selecting products. The MPN does not mandate specific policies or substitute for more comprehensive or detailed privacy policies, nor does it meet the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements for a notice of privacy practices. ONC issued a request for information on March 1, 2016 asking the public what information about privacy and security practices health IT developers should disclose to consumers and what language should be used to describe those practices. ONC received thirteen submissions with broad stakeholder representation - from developer organizations representing over 5,100 members, provider organizations representing over 200,000 providers, and consumer organizations representing patients and consumers across the country. The challenge was launched in December 2016 and leverages updated MPN content developed by ONC, with feedback from the HHS Office for Civil Rights, Federal Trade Commission, and other private and public stakeholders. A public webinar demonstrating the winning tools will be held on July 12 at 2:00p.m. EDT.  To access the 2016 MPN content, visit https://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/2016_model_privacy_notice.pdf. Additional information about the MPN is available at https://www.healthit.gov/policy-researchers-implementers[...]



More than a name change: AIDS.gov becomes HIV.gov

Monday, June 5, 2017 - 08:00

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today officially changed the name of AIDS.gov, the federal government’s leading source for information about HIV, to HIV.gov. The announcement coincides with the 36th anniversary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s first report of the initial cases of what would become known as AIDS. The name change reflects major scientific advances that have transformed an almost universally fatal disease to a condition that, if diagnosed and treated early and continuously, can be controlled and prevented from progressing to AIDS. In fact, there are more people living with HIV in the United States now than people living with AIDS.

“Much progress has been made in HIV/AIDS research since the disease was first recognized in 1981. Today, lifesaving antiretroviral therapies allow those living with HIV to enjoy longer, healthier lives—an outcome that once seemed unattainable,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “The website AIDS.gov has been a valuable resource for those seeking information about HIV/AIDS, and its name change to HIV.gov appropriately reflects our evolution in transforming the pandemic, even as work remains to bring about an end to HIV.”

In 2016, more than 8 million people used the AIDS.gov website and its social media channels to find information about HIV or to find HIV-related programs and services, including HIV testing, medical care and treatment. The name change also embraces the way most people now search online for information about the disease. “HIV” is a much more common Internet search term than “AIDS.”

“The shift to HIV.gov is proactive and inclusive, and it sends a strong, supportive message to the 1.1 million people across America who are living with HIV,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “The number of annual HIV infections in the U.S. fell 18 percent between 2008 and 2014, but progress has not been the same for all communities. HIV.gov will deliver current science, accurate information and links to effective resources for the people who need them most.”

“We’ve made important progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the United States. These improvements are the hard-won result of decades of work on the part of advocates, healthcare providers, researchers, the federal government—and many others—but our work is not done,” said Richard Wolitski, Ph.D., director of the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy. “The newly named website will bring people helpful, timely information to support our collective efforts to sustain and advance our progress in this fight.”

Please visit the new site at HIV.gov and follow its related social media channels.




Price Statement on President Trump’s Paris Agreement Announcement

Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 16:45

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., issued the following statement about President Trump’s announcement on the Paris Agreement:

“The Paris agreement is a bad deal for the American people. I applaud President Trump’s leadership and the actions he is taking.

“At the Department of Health and Human Services, it is our mission to promote and protect the health and well-being of the American people. This includes an already existing, robust commitment to advancing public health security both here at home and through partnerships with other nations.”




HHS announces over $70 million in grants to address the opioid crisis

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 10:30

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., today announced the availability of over $70 million over multiple years to help communities and healthcare providers prevent opioid overdose deaths and provide treatment for opioid use disorder, of which $28 million will be dedicated for medication-assisted treatment (MAT). “Putting an end to the opioid crisis ravaging our country is a top priority for President Trump and all of us at the Department of Health and Human Services,” said HHS Secretary Tom Price. “We are committed to bringing everything the federal government has to bear on this health crisis. Building partnerships and providing resources to state and local governments as well as non-government organizations are absolutely critical to this effort. The purpose of these grants is to empower the heroes in this fight—the men and women on the forefront of supporting prevention, treatment, and recovery initiatives in their communities.” Opioid overdoses claimed more than 33,000 lives in 2015, but preventive actions, treatment for addiction, and proper response to overdoses can help. Money from two grant funding opportunities, recently authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), will expand access to lifesaving overdose reversal medications and train healthcare providers to refer patients to appropriate follow-up drug treatment; funds from a third grant funding opportunity will provide for medication-assisted treatment of opioid use disorders. The announcement followed a separate award of $485 million in grants in April 2017—provided by the 21st Century Cures Act— to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and the free associated states of Palau and Micronesia for opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery. Administered through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), these funds will be made available through the following three grants: Medication-Assisted Treatment and Prescription Drugs Opioid Addiction: Up to $28 million to 5 grantees to increase access of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Medication-assisted treatment combines behavioral therapy and FDA-approved medication. First Responders: Up to $41.7 million over 4 years available to approximately 30 grantees to train and provide resources for first responders and members of other key community sectors on carrying and administering an FDA approved product for emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. Improving Access to Overdose Treatment: Up to $1 million over 5 years to one grantee to expand availability to overdose reversal medications in healthcare settings and to establish protocols to connect patients who have experienced a drug overdose with appropriate treatment. “The grants we announce today clearly demonstrate our efforts to meet the opioid crisis with every tool at our disposal,” said SAMHSA Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Kana Enomoto. “The evidence-based training, medication, and behavioral therapies provided here will save lives and help people with addictions start a path toward reaching their potential.” Additionally, on May 4, SAMHSA released two other Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act-related funding opportunities. These funding opportunities will be open through July 3, 2017: State Pilot Grant Program for Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women: Up to $3.3 million to support a range of family-based services for pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorder. Building Communities of Recovery: Up to $2.6 million to mobilize resources within and outside of the recovery community to increase the prevalence and quality of long-term recovery support from substance abuse and addiction. The Trump Administration and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price [...]



HHS announces the Move Health Data Forward Phase 3 challenge winners

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 09:30

As part of its ongoing efforts to support the interoperable flow of health information, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced the Phase 3 – and final – winners of the Move Health Data Forward Challenge. The multi-phase challenge focused on the development of applications allowing individuals to share their personal health information safely and securely with their health care providers, family members or other caregivers.

“The final winners in the Move Health Data Forward challenge show us that electronic health information can truly be owned by patients and their family members,” said Don Rucker, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “We expect these winning apps will open up new ways for Americans to own and manage their health information safely and securely.”

The final winners are:

  • Foxhall Wythe LLC: DocketTM is a secure system for users to seamlessly store and share their health data with trusted care providers. The solution promotes Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance and uses industry-standard FHIR® messages. The authorization for sharing of data is accomplished through a Quick Response (QR) code scan and an OAuth 2.0 handshake.
  • Live and Leave Well, LLC: Live and Leave WellTM provides both a consumer mediated exchange of end of life plans and creates a transportable package of data about that person’s end of life plans. The application uses a combination of open application program interfaces, direct integration as well as OAuth 2.0 to securely move sensitive data among multiple user types.

Phase 1 of the Move Health Data Forward Challenge required applicants to submit their plans describing how they would develop solutions to help with the flow of health information. The ten Phase 1 winners were awarded $5,000 each and moved on to Phase 2, which required participants to demonstrate a viable solution to achieve the challenge’s goals. The five Phase 2 winners were each awarded $20,000 and moved on to Phase 3 where they implemented their solutions through a mobile or web-based application. The final winners will receive $50,000 each.

The Move Health Data Forward Challenge builds on ONC’s work with the Health Relationship Trust (HEART) Workgroup’s security, privacy and health information technology stakeholders. These stakeholders are collaborating on the development of a set of privacy and security specifications enabling individuals to control the authorization of access to their health data. These efforts are part of a larger community-driven movement toward helping individuals and clinicians benefit from the full potential of health information technology.

The challenge winners will be featured in a public webinar on Friday June 23, 2017 at 11:00 am.  For more information, please visit the Move Health Data Forward page.