Fierce Healthcare: 3 takeaways from Brooks-LaSure’s confirmation hearing to become administrator of CMS

“Chiquita Brooks-LaSure faced the Senate Finance Committee Thursday for a confirmation hearing for her nomination to serve as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).”

“Brooks-LaSure, who faced senate questioning alongside Andrea Palm, who is being considered to serve as Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deputy secretary, was questioned about several policy areas that she will oversee if she is confirmed. These include the 340B drug discount program, dual-eligible care coordination and telehealth.”

“The hearing didn’t highlight any major opposition from Republicans to her nomination, likely signaling her confirmation as the head of CMS.”

“Here are three takeaways from the confirmation hearing:

  1. Making telehealth flexibility permanent

Several senators highlighted the need to ensure that the telehealth boom that started during the pandemic continued. Brooks-LaSure said that she wants to examine what CMS’ authority is to extend the flexibilities that are set to expire at the end of the public health emergency period.

But Brooks-LaSure demurred when asked by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, what the reimbursement rate should be for telehealth, a major question mark…

  1. Improving dual-eligible care coordination

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, was concerned about how to improve outcomes for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid.

“We both know we spend a lot of money on duals, and we get miserable outcomes,” he said.

One of the issues is that it is difficult for aligning incentives for both state and federal governments, Cassidy said. He asked what lessons have been learned from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) effort to improve dual-eligible care. She responded that there needs to be better coordination between long-term care, nursing homes and hospitals…

  1. Flexibility and certainty for states applying for waivers

Brooks-LaSure said granting waivers to state for Medicaid or ACA changes requires a “great deal of responsibility,” and she wants states to understand what rules are to have a consistent guidance. But she will likely be scrutinized by Republicans on how she handles the controversial Trump-era work requirements program…” Read the full article here.

Source: 3 takeaways from Brooks-LaSure’s confirmation hearing to become administrator of CMS — By Robert King, April 15, 2021. Fierce Healthcare.



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