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September 20, 2019 (Cleveland)

Brian Lane Meets with the Offices of U.S. Senators Brown, Portman on Critical Health Policy Issues

Brian LaneAs part of a trip to Washington, D.C., for the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board meeting, The Center for Health Affairs President and CEO Brian Lane met with the offices of U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman in early September to advocate for Northeast Ohio hospitals on a number of critical issues.

During his conversations, Lane, who was also joined by Lutheran Hospital Trustee Ellen Brzytwa, provided some background on the work of The Center and the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium, and talked through key hospital concerns, especially regarding: the looming Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) reimbursement cuts, a regulation (42 CFR Part 2) impacting care coordination for patients with substance use disorders, site-neutral Medicare payments for off-campus hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs), surprise medical billing, and the 340B drug pricing program.

Lane’s message included the following requests for lawmakers:

  • Delay the DSH cuts scheduled to kick in this October.
  • Align 42 CFR Part 2 with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in order to protect the privacy of and ensure care coordination for patients suffering with substance use disorders.
  • Pass legislation reinforcing Congress’ intent to protect grandfathered HOPDs from site-neutral payments.
  • Protect patients from surprise bills utilizing alternatives to rate setting.
  • Protect the 340B drug pricing program, which has seen substantial cuts.

The meetings presented the opportunity for Lane to introduce himself to and establish a connection with the senators’ offices, an integral component of the organization’s work in advocating for member hospital interests. The staff members with whom he met were receptive to his message and well versed in the policy issues he discussed.

The senators’ staffers were also interested in hearing about Lane’s meeting, along with Senior Vice President of Member Services Lisa Anderson, just days before with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. In their conversations with Azar, Lane and Anderson emphasized the importance of continued federal funding in support of the fight against the opioid epidemic. They also stressed that it’s critically important to stay ahead of the substance abuse issue as opioids are being joined by a resurgence of other drugs, including methamphetamine. Lane raised these same points during his conversations with the U.S. senators’ staff.

The Center will build on these meetings by maintaining communication with members of Congress in both the House and Senate as health policy continues to develop. As Congress moves into fall, the federal budget will be a top priority, but issues including surprise billing and prescription drug prices are also likely to get attention.

MORE: For more on these and other health policy issues, contact us.

TWEETABLE: Brian Lane (@BLANE247), @neohospitals president & CEO met with the offices of U.S. Senators Brown & Portman to advocate for Northeast Ohio hospitals in key issues, including #Medicaid, #Medicare, the #OpioidCrisis and #SurpriseBilling.