The Reed Smith Health Industry Washington Watch blog has been updated to discuss a variety of legislative and regulatory developments, including the following:

  • Regulatory Developments. HHS has published a final rule to implement certain aspects of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (Patient Safety Act). In addition, HHS has published its semiannual regulatory agenda, outlining planned regulatory initiatives in a number of health policy areas. CMS has issued an interim final rule with comment period making technical changes to the methodology used to compute each state’s preliminary and final allotments available to pay the Medicare Part B premiums for qualifying individuals, along with a separate final rule on Medicaid premiums and cost sharing requirements. The FDA has published draft guidance documents on “Contents of a Complete Submission for the Evaluation of Proprietary Names” and “Process Validation: General Principles and Practices.”
  • Legislative Developments. Key lawmakers have released for public comment a discussion draft of legislation that would establish a value-based purchasing program for Medicare inpatient hospital care. In addition, the Senate Finance Committee has held a hearing on health care reform, and the Senate has approved technical corrections to the new mental health parity law.
  • Other CMS & DOJ Developments. CMS is accepting comments on a preliminary set of outpatient imaging efficiency measures. CMS also has released a document entitled “Medicare’s Practical Guide to the E-Prescribing Incentive Program.” In addition, CMS has announced the improper payment rate for the Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP for FY 2008. The U.S. Department of Justice also has released updated statistics on federal False Claims Act recoveries, including a discussion of significant health care fraud enforcement activities.
  • Health Care Industry Events. CMS is holding forums on the Part B drug competitive acquisition program, value-based purchasing for physician and other professional services, hospital-acquired conditions, and IPPS new technology applications. The HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society is meeting to discuss whether gene patents and certain licensing practices are affecting patient access to genetic tests, and the Practicing Physicians Advisory Council is holding its quarterly meeting to discuss Medicare policy changes related to physicians’ services. AHRQ is hosting a meeting on kidney disease education.

For details on these and other health industry developments, please visit