Registration for the virtual American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) 2021 Health Policy Conference is open! This popular conference is 100% online this year, and you will have two full weeks beginning February 25 to gain the skills you need to be an advocate for nurse practitioners (NPs) and patients.

 

Advocacy experts will discuss the priorities of the 117th Congress and the new Administration, as well as their potential impact on NPs and patients. Whether you are a seasoned NP advocate or a novice in the legislative area, you will develop the skills and insight necessary to advocate at the federal level. The robust agenda offers the opportunity to earn up to six contact hours of continuing education (CE) credit.

 

Act now — registration for this conference closes on March 9, 2021!

Government Affairs Update
December 7, 2020
 
This Week in Washington D.C.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives are in session this week, and it is scheduled to be very busy on Capitol Hill with a full agenda of items to be addressed. The current continuing resolution to fund the government expires at midnight on Friday, December 11, and Congress has not yet reached a deal to pass the 12 remaining spending bills to avoid a federal government shutdown. Congress may pass a short-term continuing resolution, which would provide more time to negotiate beyond this Friday’s deadline. Additionally, Congress worked throughout the weekend on a new COVID-19 pandemic relief package. At this time, however, a final package has not been released.

This weekend, President-elect Biden announced his selection of current California Attorney General and former U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra as his nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is important to note that Mr. Becerra must be confirmed by the Senate before he can take on this role as the head of HHS.

There are several Senate hearings scheduled this week, which include: the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing titled, “Early Outpatient Treatment: An Essential Part of a COVID-19 Solution, Part II;” the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing titled, “VA’s Response to COVID-19 across the VA Enterprise;” the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety hearing titled, “The Logistics of Transporting a COVID-19 Vaccine;” and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations hearing titled, “Combatting the Opioid Crisis: Oversight of the Implementation of the STOP Act.”

Hearings scheduled in the House of Representatives this week include: the House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing titled, “Purdue Pharma’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic,” and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity hearing titled, “Identifying Congressional and Administration Priorities for the Next Congress: How we can support our Veterans through and after COVID-19.”

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) will continue to monitor legislative developments and provide updates.
 

2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule
On December 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. CMS has provided fact sheets on the fee scheduleQuality Payment Program and Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program, which provide greater detail regarding those individual sections of the final rule. Notably, CMS authorized Medicare coverage of diagnostic testing supervised by nurse practitioners (NPs). Thank you to all AANP members who wrote to CMS in support of this change! Other important aspects of this final rule include increased coverage of telehealth services and finalizing the updated documentation and reimbursement guidelines for Evaluation and Management (E&M) services that were approved in last year’s fee schedule. CMS anticipates that this increase in reimbursement for E&M services will lead to a 7% average increase in reimbursement for NP services billed to Medicare. AANP will continue to provide updates as we evaluate the more than 2,100-page final rule.
 

Request for Information (RFI) on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery: Comment Now!
On November 30, 2020, CMS released its RFI on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery. CMS is requesting feedback on which federal waivers should remain in place after the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, including many waivers that removed federal barriers to practice for NPs. AANP calls on NPs to utilize the Advocacy Center to comment and voice their support to permanently remove these barriers to practice. It is vital that the NP voice is heard. Please submit your comment letter to HHS before the close of the comment period on December 28, 2020.
 

Advocate for NP Priorities in the Remaining Days of 2020
There are a limited number of legislative days left in the year. It is critical that you use this time to reach out to your federal legislators and ensure they understand the importance of AANP’s legislative priorities.

Use the AANP Advocacy Center to send a message to your elected officials urging their support for legislative measures that seek to improve patient health and increase patient access to the health care provider of their choice.
 

As always, your Federal and State Government Affairs teams are available to answer any questions. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or [email protected]

Federal Government Affairs Team Members:
MaryAnne Sapio, VP Federal Government Affairs
Debra Swan, Associate VP Federal Government Affairs
Jessica Talbert, Director of Federal Advocacy
Franklin Harrington, Director of Reimbursement and Regulatory Affairs
Adam Horgan, Regulatory Affairs Analyst
Nick Rumberger, Director of Operations, Office of Government Affairs
Jan Towers, Senior Health Policy Consultant

State Government Affairs Team Members:
Tay Kopanos, VP State Government Affairs
Jamie Kings, State Policy Analyst
Ashley Shew, State Policy Analyst
Julia Dieperink, State Policy Coordinator

The AANP Government Affairs Update is sent weekly to update and inform our members about AANP activities, initiatives, programs and events. Any reproduction or republication of material contained in this newsletter is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from AANP.

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