Monday, September 09, 2019

Monday Musings

The Senate did take up this afternoon the cloture motion on the President's nomination to be United Nations ambassador, Kelly Craft.  The roll call vote was 54 in favor of cloture and 38 against. The Senate's president pro tempore announced that the motion had carried. How could the motion pass without sixteenths votes? The FEHBlog consulted the CRS report on this topic which explains (p. 9) that "pursuant to precedents established by the Senate on November 21, 2013, and April 6, 2017, the Senate can invoke cloture on a nominationby a majority of Senators voting (a quorum being present), The Senate will vote on the UN ambassador's nomination tomorrow morning and then will take a cloture motion vote on the President's nomination of Elizabeth Darling, of Texas, to be Commissioner on Children, Youth, and Families, Department of Health and Human Services. If that motion is approved the vote on Ms. Darling's nomination would occur after 2:15 pm tomorrow afternoon. Thereafter, the Senate will consider the cloture motions for the nominations of six other nominations, including Dale Cabaniss's nomination to be OPM Director. Ms. Cabaniss is list fourth on this cloture motion list. A vote on Ms. Cabaniss's nomination is likely this week.

Speaking of nominations, Healthcare Dive reports that
  • President Donald Trump is weighing nominating a top executive at the MD Anderson Cancer Center as the next Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, according to multiple reports indicating the Texas oncologist, Stephen Hahn, has become a frontrunner for the post.
  • Picking Hahn, or a third candidate said to be in the running, would be a change of course from acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, the former National Cancer Institute director who replaced Scott Gottlieb as agency chief in March.
Speaking of drugs, Beckers's Payers' Issues reports that
Shifting specialty drug administration away from hospital settings could reduce expenses by $4 billion annually, according to a new report from United Health Group.  United Health found that administering specialty drugs in independent physician offices and patient homes, instead of hospital outpatient settings, could save insurers between $16,000 to $37,000 per privately insured patient annually.

Finally, the Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights  ("OCR")today announced 
its first enforcement action and settlement in its Right of Access Initiative.  Earlier this year, OCR announced this initiative promising to vigorously enforce the rights of patients to receive copies of their medical records promptly and without being overcharged.
Bayfront Health St. Petersburg (Bayfront) has paid $85,000 to OCR and has adopted a corrective action plan to settle a potential violation of the right of access provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules after Bayfront failed to provide a mother timely access to records about her unborn child.  Bayfront, based in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a Level II trauma and tertiary care center licensed as a 480-bed hospital with over 550 affiliated physicians.

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