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This Week in Primary Care- 4.26.2024

  • 1.  This Week in Primary Care- 4.26.2024

    Posted 04-29-2024 17:00
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    Good Afternoon – It's been a very busy week in DC in terms of regulatory policy, especially as the Administration races to finalize rules before the date beyond which next year's Congress can easily rescind them.  Here are this week's Key Takeaways:

    1.  BPHC funding:  This week BPHC released a NOFO for Behavioral Health Service Expansions (BHSE), committing $240 million of the new funding provided by Congress in March.  Up to 400 CHCs (28% of all CHCs) could receive on-going funding of up to $500,000 annually to support mental health and SUD services, including medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD).  CHCs can also receive an additional $100,000 for start-up costs in Year One.  

    Regarding the remainder of the new mandatory funding, Jim Macrae stated during Today with Macrae that:

    • The agency is still finalizing its plans for how to spend the remaining funds. 
    • The BHSE awards will be the last new awards made in FY24; any future competitions will make their first awards in FY2025. 
    • Jim did not rule out the possibility of base increases but said that there would be little funding available to support them.  See page 6.

    2.  Two new regulations could impact CHCs' workforce:

    • More workers eligible for overtime pay:  The Administration is significantly increasing the number of salaried workers who are eligible for overtime pay.  Currently, salaried workers earning less than $35,568 qualify for overtime.  Under a newly-finalized rule, this threshold increases to $43,888 starting July 1, 2024, and $58,656 starting Jan. 1, 2025. 
    • Non-complete clauses are banned: On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission banned noncompete agreements for most of the U.S. workforce.  By the next day, the US Chamber of Commerce had already filed a lawsuit to overturn the ban.  See page 10. 

    3.  Avian flu concerns:  The World Health Organization and CDC are raising "significant concerns" that the current avian flu strain could evolve to allow for human-to-human transmission.  CHC clinicians are urged to be alert for potential signs of avian flu among their patients.  Specifically, when a patient presents with conjunctivitis or respiratory symptoms, clinicians should take an exposure history, asking if they work on a dairy farm; work at a farm with a known outbreak of avian flu among livestock of poultry; or have had contact with dead birds or other animals.  See page 7.

    4.  Unwinding:  Of the 20.1 million Medicaid/ CHIP enrollees that have been disenrolled since the unwinding began, roughly 5 million remain uninsured.  The other 15 million have been re-enrolled in Medicaid or found other coverage.  See page 8.

    There are two Recommended Action Items, both of which are advocacy-related and come from NACHC:

    1. House Appropriations letter:  This letter requesting "robust" FY25 appropriated funding for CHCs will close on Tuesday PM.  As of this morning we still need 83 signatures to equal the number we had FY24, thereby showing strong continued support.  Please prioritize outreach your House member, especially Republicans who signed last year but haven't yet this year.  See page 3.
    1. Impact of Change Healthcare cyberattack:  Both the Senate Finance Committee and the House E&C Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee will hold hearings next Wednesday about the cyberattack and its impact on providers and patients.  If you have a member on either panel (see list of E&C subcommittee members here), we encourage you to reach out to them with data and anecdotes about how your CHCs' operations and finances were impacted.  See page 4. 

    Thank You for your continued Advocacy and please let us know how we may best support your work.

    Have a wonderful week.

    Chuck O'Neal
    Director, Member Support
    Kentucky Primary Care Association
    Frankfort KY
    (502) 545-9620