Feds’ Busy December Energizes Quality World

January 10, 2023 · Andy Reynolds

Big moves by Congress and CMS in late 2022 have given quality advocates who work in federal health policy a lot to read and respond to in early 2023.

Congressional Action on Quality

In a stroke of holiday bipartisanship, Congress and the Biden Administration agreed to a year-end omnibus spending package known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act.

This mega-legislation:

  • Provides new resources to quality programs at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Sets health research priorities for federal agencies.

Parts of the legislation relevant to health care quality include:

  • Telehealth Extension: Telehealth and Hospital at Home Public Health Emergency (PHE) waivers have been extended through 2024. Congress also wants HHS to report on telehealth utilization and compare the quality of inpatient care to the quality of hospital at home. (Care at home is a quality trend we cover online and at Quality Talks.)
  • New Data-Sharing Expectations: To respond to future public health emergencies, the PREVENT Pandemics Act inside the omnibus bill provides new instructions and funding for the CDC to improve data sharing.
  • More Mental Health Funding: Federal agencies and organizations that use federal grants will get bigger budgets to improve mental health care. Congress also required CMS to standardize mental health assessment and develop patient perspective quality measures for inpatient psychiatric care.

CMS’s Proposed Rules

Lawmakers weren’t the only ones in Washington who had a busy December. CMS proposed rules that could mean big things for quality.

 How You Can Get Involved

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