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ACNM Policy Update - 9/24/2015

Federal Issues

1.  Court Case on Coverage of Contraception May Compel Further Supreme Court Action
2.  HRSA to Host National Health Service Corps Virtual Job Fair
3.  KFF Launches Tracker for Coverage of Preventive Services
4.  KFF Publishes Fact Sheet on HPV Vaccination
5.  Federal Bill to Address Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Advances
6.  RWJF Announces Availability of Grants for Studies of Culture of Health

State Issues

1.  State Developments:  New Laws – DC
2.  State Developments:  Introductions and Progress - CA 



Federal Issues

1.  Court Case on Coverage of Contraception May Compel Further Supreme Court Action

On September 17, a federal appeals court ruled that certain religiously affiliated nonprofit organization such as universities, hospitals and charities do not have to take the step of notifying the federal government when they have objections to covering contraceptives, some of which they consider to be abortifacients, under their health plan.  

Other appeals courts have ruled that such organizations are not unduly burdened by the Administration’s process for handling these situations, which requires them to notify the government of their objection to providing such coverage.  Upon such notification, alternative coverage is made available in a fashion that does not require the objecting organization to pay for or include the coverage under their health plan.  

The plaintiffs argued that the requirement that they provide notice to the government makes them complicit in a violation of their own religious principles.  Such divergence between appellate courts usually requires a decision by the Supreme Court to resolve the issue.  Whether the Court chooses to take up the case is yet to be seen.  


2.  HRSA to Host National Health Service Corps Virtual Job Fair

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced that they will host a virtual job fair for those interested in working in a health professionals shortage area.  Such employment is a prerequisite to obtaining a scholarship or loan repayment through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).  

Virtual Job Fairs offer real-time interaction with representatives from healthcare sites to discuss job openings, site information, benefit packages and populations served by over 40 healthcare sites across the country with multiple vacancies

The virtual job fair will occur on October 30th from 6:45 – 10:00 p.m.  To keep informed you should subscribe to the Virtual Job Fair email list.  If you want to participate, you should register here.   



3.  KFF Launches Tracker for Coverage of Preventive Services

The Affordable Care Act requires private insurance plans to cover recommended preventive services, including many services specifically for women, with no out-of-pocket charges for patients. This slate of covered services can change when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and other authorized groups add or modify recommendations; the federal government also periodically issues clarifications to guide health plans in their coverage.

new tracker from the Kaiser Family Foundation monitors the preventive services that must be covered for adults without cost sharing, providing in one place details about the services covered, federal guidelines governing coverage, the affected populations, and effective dates of coverage for each service.

The Preventive Services Tracker helps users easily find up-to-date coverage information on preventive services related to cancer, chronic conditions, health promotion, immunization, pregnancy, and sexual health.  


4.  KFF Publishes Fact Sheet on HPV Vaccination

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has published a very useful fact sheet on HPV vaccination, including data on the disease, its prevalence among various populations, vaccines available from different manufacturers, and state laws requiring vaccination prior to school attendance.  It’s worth a quick look.  


5.  Federal Bill to Address Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Advances

On September 8, HR 1462, the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 passed the House on a voice vote.  This bill requires the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to report on prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome (symptoms of withdrawal in a newborn). (An opioid is a drug with effects similar to opium, such as heroin or certain pain medications.) The report must include:

• an assessment of existing research on neonatal abstinence syndrome;
• an evaluation of the causes, and barriers to treatment, of opioid use disorders among women of reproductive age;
• an evaluation of treatment for pregnant women with opioid use disorders and infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome; and
• recommendations on preventing, identifying, and treating opioid dependency in women and neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The Department of Health and Human Services must review its activities related to prenatal opioid use and neonatal abstinence syndrome and develop a strategy to address gaps in research and programs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must provide technical assistance to states to improve neonatal abstinence syndrome surveillance and make surveillance data publicly available.    


6.  RWJF Announces Availability of Grants for Studies of Culture of Health

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced the availability of grants to researchers engaged in innovative studies to address the gaps in knowledge needed to inform, develop and refine the strategies to build a Culture of Health.

They are looking for applicants who represent a wide range of fields and disciplines – both within and outside the health sector. They seek to attract diversity of thought, professional background, race and ethnicity, and cultural perspective in our applicant pool. Building a Culture of Health means integrating health into all aspects of society, so RWJF encourages multi-sector partnerships and collaboration. Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations based in the United States or its territories.  They have specifically reached out to nursing communities, indicating they are interested in seeing proposals from nurses.  For more information, visit their website.   

 

State Issues

1.  State Developments:  New Laws - DC

District of Columbia Act 21-91, signed by the mayor on June 17 and effective January 1, 2017 will require insurers to provide benefits that allow for the dispensing of a supply of contraceptives lasting up to 12 months.  This includes all FDA covered contraceptives. 

2.  State Developments:  Introductions and Progress - CA 

California SB 137 has passed the state legislature and been presented to the Governor for signature.  This bill would require health care service plans and insurers to make a provider directory available on their web site and to update the directory weekly. The bill would require the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance to develop a standard provider directory template. ACNM’s survey of health plans in 2014 found that many either do not list CNMs in their provider directory, or list them in categories that may make it difficult for consumers to find them.
 





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