TRIO PUBLIC POLICY REPORT – December 2022

THE ADMINISTRATION FOR PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE (ASPR)

ASPR (https://aspr.hhs.gov/Pages/Home.aspx) is a section of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). ASPR leads the nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. ASPR collaborates with territorial governments, and other partners across the country to improve readiness and response capabilities.

ASPR has been holding regular meetings with its stakeholders during COVID to track the disease as well as the development and availability of treatment, including vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and anti-virals. At its meeting last week, ASPR published a very useful chart explaining COVID Preventative Agents and Treatments.
Please contact Ike Copperman, [email protected], if you would like a copy of this chart.

WHY YOU MAY SOON HAVE TO PAY FOR THAT COVID 19 TEST
The following information is from the Hill Health Care Newsletter, 11/4/2022.
The federal government is poised to stop paying for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments in the coming months, shifting the costs from taxpayers onto individual patients.
Experts say most Americans are not aware that this will happen and will be in for a
major case of sticker shock. They warn without additional protections or funding,
the transition to commercialized treatments and preventive services will lead to
health barriers.

Instead of free access to tests and treatments like Paxlovid, insurance companies and
manufacturers will set the price.  The days of free, easily accessible COVID-19 tests will also likely end. Private insurance may not cover over-the-counter tests anymore, and patients may need a prescription first for a PCR test.

Vaccines will still be free to people with private insurance, though the cost will likely be reflected in premiums. Even with insurance, patients will likely see costs if they go to an out-of-network provider.

But the biggest impact will be on uninsured or underinsured Americans, many of whom have jobs that put them at greater risk of COVID-19 exposure.

These changes may also be reflective of a broader system: “The way that it works in the U.S. [right now] is actually more similar to how a lot of health care works in other countries too,” said Cynthia Cox, an insurance expert and vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “But when the public health emergency ends, it’s going to start looking like health care in the U.S does, which is that it’s complicated and it costs a lot of money.”

Read more here.

PARTNERSHIP FOR PART D ACCESS TRIO

has been a long-time supporter of the Part D coalition to make sure that transplant
recipients have access to a specific prescription drug regimen. Recently, Venn Strategies, the Washington firm leading the efforts of the Part D members in
legislative activities, worked with the Congress to issue a non-binding resolution (House Resolution 1390). House member Grace Napolitano from California introduced the resolution in September, 2022. The full text of the resolution can be read at the following site:
https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-resolution/1390

In support of this resolution, TRIO members have partnered with Venn Strategies to hold Zoom meetings with their local representatives to tell their stories and ask additional Congressional members to sign on to support the resolution. Rodger Goodacre, Monet Thompson, and Glenda and Ike Copperman have all been on Zoom calls in recent weeks talking with representatives from their home states.

UPDATE ON ALL THINGS COVID
Dr. Marcus Pereira is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians. He is also the Medical Director of the Transplant Infectious Disease program at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
Dr. Pereira participated on a webinar this past week hosted by Jen Benson and Transplant Journey, Inc. Dr. Pereira shared the latest information about all things Covid. These included the current state of vaccines and vaccinations, local infection rates with the latest strains of COVID, and key recommendations for continuing safety and best personal practices for the holidays. COVID is still evolving and changing so it’s going to be with us for a long time. His presentation was recorded and can be viewed on YouTube:

 https://youtu.be/IcagY6WWwNI

Dr. Pereira’ recommendations include the following important health and safety measures:

  • Continue using masks in the appropriate settings with crowds and places
    where you don’t know the vaccination status
  • Wash hands, wash hands, wash hands
  • Use common sense when traveling and be mindful of your surroundings

ESRD TREATMENT CHOICE LEARNING COLLABORATIVE (ETCLC)

The Centers for Medicare &; Medicaid Services (CMS) and Health Resources &  Services Administration (HRSA) announced that the End Stage Renal Disease Treatment Choices Learning Collaborative (ETCLC) went live on August 20, 2021 under the CMS Technical Assistance, Quality Improvement, and Learning (TAQIL) contract. This work supports the ETC payment model which encourages preventative kidney care, home dialysis, and kidney transplant as well as the broader Advancing American Kidney Health initiative. The ETCLC will engage transplant centers, Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs), large donor hospitals, patients, and donor family members to identify highly effective practices currently in use and spread the use of these practices throughout the organ procurement, kidney care, and kidney transplant community. TRIO will be a participating organization in this
collaborative. The goal will be to achieve the following three aims:
– Increase the number of deceased donor kidneys transplanted – OPO, transplant program, and patient focused
– Decrease the current national discard rate of all procured kidneys – OPO, transplant program,and patient focused
– Increase the percentage of change for kidneys recovered for transplant in the 60-85 Kidney Donor Profile Index score group – OPO, donor hospital, and donor family focused Supported by Quality Improvement (QI) Coaches, National Faculty, and professional and patient advocacy groups organized into a Leadership Coordinating Council (LCC), the ETCLC is expected to enroll 80% of transplant centers and OPOs plus the two largest donor hospitals in each OPO’s donor service area into 25 QI Teams, which will participate, collaborate, and change practice to meet the ETCLC aims.

TRIO-Oklahoma’s committee on advocacy and public policy will discuss issues of importance to transplant patients and then post advocacy and public policy information on this page. We greatly value the input of all TRIO-Oklahoma members.