OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Lobbying picks up ahead of supercommittee meeting

State by state

Delaware rejected: Federal regulators on Monday rejected Delaware's request for a waiver from the healthcare reform law. The state joins North Dakota in failing to secure an exemption for its insurers of rules requiring that they spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care. Healthwatch's Sam Baker has more.

Feel the pain: As the deficit supercommittee weighs healthcare cuts, the American Hospital Association unveils a map of hospital jobs by state and by congressional district.

Let's not forget Medicaid: Advocates are banding together to create state-by-state reports detailing the number of people with cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and chronic lung disease who rely on Medicaid. The first four reports — for California, Illinois, New York and Texas — will be released Wednesday by the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Lung Association and Families USA.

Golden State: The California legislature passed a slew of healthcare bills before adjourning Friday, including state legislation to implement the healthcare reform law's new regulations for insurance plans. Other health legislation that passed includes mandatory coverage for an autism treatment and for maternity care.

Tuesday's agenda

Census data out: The Census bureau releases its 2010 numbers on uninsured Americans. Trends to watch for include whether the years-long erosion of employer-sponsored coverage has been reversed, how many people the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program are still covering in the continuing downturn, and whether the increase in uninsured Americans has finally slowed.

Lots of lawsuits: Capson Physicians Insurance Company releases a new malpractice survey showing that doctors could avoid lawsuits by better communicating with patients. The survey seeks to build support for tort reform after a New England Journal of Medicine study last month estimated that 75 percent of physicians in low-risk specialties and 99 percent of those in high-risk specialties were projected to face a claim at some point during their career.

Health IT week: The Sixth Annual National Health Information Technology Week kicks off with a congressional news briefing at 11 a.m. Featured speakers include Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.).

Bush tackles cancer: The George W. Bush Institute announces a partnership with the State Department, UNAIDS and Susan G. Komen for the Cure to expand the availability of vital cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment for women at risk in developing nations in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

AHIP conference: Day 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid conference from America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) features congressional staff at the center of deficit talks discussing the key issues and proposed solutions before Congress as it considers changes to Medicare, Medicare Advantage and the prescription drug program. Read the agenda.

CDC at the movies: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention holds a panel reception timed around the release of the movie Contagion, for which CDC scientists did consulting work. Panelists  — including CDC Director Thomas Frieden — will separate myth from reality and discuss prevention strategies for the country, communities and families.

Latino health: Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) moderates a panel on prevention for Hispanic Heritage Month. President Obama's special assistant for healthcare and economic policy will attend, along with celebrity chef LaLa.

Regulatory review 

Transparent tests: Patients would get direct access to the results of their lab tests under rules HHS proposed Monday. The regulations would remove restrictions that prevent people from directly accessing the results of lab tests — impediments that HHS says often result in patients not being able to get the information at all. The proposed changes were published at the beginning of "Health IT Week."

Basic health: HHS published a request for comments Friday on the Basic Health Program — an alternative way to cover low-income people. States can use Basic Health Programs instead of an insurance exchange, after contracting with private health plans to create products that would be similar to policies sold through the exchanges. HHS asked for public comments on the models states would likely look to for Basic Health Programs, as well as how to structure federal funding. HHS's questions are here.

Face to face: Public comments are closing soon for the proposed rule on face-to-face requirements for home health services under Medicaid. 

Bill tracker 

Five new healthcare bills were dropped last week:

• Rep. Lois Capps's (D-Calif.) bill to authorize state grants to train and license veterans with prior medical training (H.R. 2853).

• Rep. David Reichert's (R-Wash.) bill to allow physical therapy services to be furnished under the Medicare program to individuals under the care of a dentist (H.R. 2863).

• Rep. Randy Hultgren's (R-Ill.) bill to authorize grants for sexual risk avoidance education (H.R. 2874).

• Rep. Steve Cohen's (D-Tenn.) bill to expand the list of immigrants temporarily admitted to the U.S. for medical treatment (H.R. 2878). 

• Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-N.Y.) bill requiring the Department of Agriculture to protect against foodborne illnesses and provide enhanced notification of recalled meat, poultry, eggs and related food products (S. 1529).

Fraud fight

Lobby hire: Cetero Research has hired Alston & Bird for help with its Food and Drug Administration investigation. The Contract Research Organization is accused of falsifying records and manipulating samples at its Houston laboratory.

A Virginia woman is convicted of defrauding Medicaid of nearly $1 million.

A former Westchester, N.Y., nursing home administrator will serve prison time for $2.2 million in Medicaid fraud.

The owner of a Florida therapy center is arrested on charges of defrauding Medicaid out of more than $1.1 million.

A Charlotte, N.C., doctor has been fined $40,000 for dumping patients' financial and medical information.

Lobbying registrations

Alston & Bird / Cetero Research (Contract Research Organization)

Alston & Bird / National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans

Alston & Bird / Fairview Health Services

Ogilvy Government Relations / National Retail Federation (issues related to essential health benefits regulation)

Reading list

The Incidental Economist blog explains how the right balance of hospital and insurance plan concentration can be good.

Tenet Healthcare Corp. said its profits were squeezed by an influx of poorer patients and lower Medicare reimbursements, Reuters reports, raising investor concerns over the U.S. hospital sector.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to create a digital motion comic for a new HIV awareness campaign aimed at young people, Politico reports.

What you might have missed on Healthwatch

Congressional opposition to drug plan administrator merger grows.

Raising the Medicare eligibility age is a mistake, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) writes in a Hill op-ed. 

Tip sheet: Supercommittee's task makes healthcare advocates nervous

News bites: HHS to announce new medical record transparency effort


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