OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Dems at odds over Medicaid

PCORI: The new comparative effectiveness board established under healthcare reform is seeking public input about its mission. The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI, will compare various treatments to see which ones are most effective. The board released a request for public comments Wednesday asking what “patient-centered outcomes” means. The request lists several questions the research should help answer.

Read the Healthwatch story.

FDA fight: House Republicans are clearly looking to relax conflict-of-interest rules and speed the approval process for drugs and medical devices in a major Food and Drug Administration reauthorization next year. The Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee focused Wednesday on devices and what critics see as an overly cautious FDA.

The agency defended its review processes, saying the real barrier to timely approvals comes from low-quality applications rather than hesitant reviewers. Committee Democrats circulated a memo ahead of the hearing challenging a central premise of the criticism: that the FDA moves slower than its European counterpart. Healthwatch has more.

Witnesses and Republican committee members also focused intently on conflict-of-interest rules adopted in the last FDA reauthorization bill, which limit the role of regulated industries on FDA advisory panels. Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said the rules are depriving the FDA of needed expertise, and device industry officials said the prolonged search for experts without conflicts has slowed the pace of innovation.

Kids’ food: More than 150 organizations on Wednesday called on federal agencies to withdraw proposed restrictions on marketing food to children. An Interagency Working Group recently proposed new marketing restrictions that critics describe as a significant overreach.

“Although the IWG proposal would require dramatic changes to food recipes and marketing, the IWG has produced no evidence that the proposed marketing restrictions would contribute to long-term changes in eating behavior nor has the IWG measured the costs to broadcasters, advertisers, food manufacturers, food retailers, restaurants, farmers, or the community organizations that rely on the support of our industries,” the 150 organizations wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Federal Trade Commissioner Jon Leibowitz.

Thursday’s agenda
Melody Barnes, director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, and First Focus President Bruce Lesley will be at the National Press Club for the “Children’s Budget Summit.”

HHS’s Steve Larsen will be at a breakfast event at the National Press Club.

And the Energy and Commerce Committee's health subcommittee holds a hearing on bioterrorism and public health issues.

Lobbying registrations

Ferguson Strategies / The Medicines Company (pharmaceutical manufacturer)
Fidelis Government Relations / Council for Responsible Nutrition (supplements)
Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge / Elusys Therapeutics
Ikon Public Affairs / URL Pharmaceuticals
ADS Ventures / Partners Center for Connected Health (technology-enabled care programs)
Bravo Group / Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Lanny J. Davis & Associates / eHealth (online marketplace for health insurance)
FrogueClark / HealthCare Insight
Podesta Group / Vital Care (home infusion services)
McKenna, Long & Aldridge / Children's Health Care of Atlanta
ADS Ventures / Lincare (oxygen, respiratory and home infusion products)
Ms. Susan Cassidy / Contourmed (prosthetics)
FrogueClark / Partnership for Quality Home Health Care
Fabiani & Company / Sarcoma Foundation of America
Jeffrey J. Kimbell and Associates / Synthes (medical device company)
Jenckes & Associates / Leo Pharma
Fabiani & Co. / Edison Pharmaceuticals
Fabiani & Co. / Aethlon Medical
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips / Baxter Healthcare
Capital Partnerships / Livingstone Group (transportation policy on behalf of non-profit healthcare corporation)


What you might have missed on Healthwatch
Gang of Six tort reform savings challenged

Reading list
The medical home healthcare model is showing results, the Associated Press reports.

California hospitals are hiring more nurses as a result of the state's nurse-to-patient staffing law, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.

First Lady Michelle Obama launches an initiative to attract grocery stores to low-income California neighborhoods, reports Feministing.com.

Focus on the Family acknowledges that the Defense of Marriage Act would disadvantage children of same-sex couples, ThinkProgress says.


Comments / complaints / suggestions?  Please let us know:

Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com / 202-628-8527 

Sam Baker: sbaker@thehill.com / 202-628-8351

Follow us on Twitter @hillhealthwatch