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

  • Regulatory Developments. CMS has issued rules providing states with increased flexibility to define the scope of covered Medicaid services and revising Medicare hospital wage indices. HHS has published the federal medical assistance percentages and enhanced federal medical assistance percentages for FY 2010. In addition, HHS is requesting public comments on its draft “Guidance on Important Considerations for When Participation of Human Subjects in Research is Discontinued,” and the FDA has issued related guidance on “Data Retention When Subjects Withdraw from FDA-Regulated Clinical Trials.” The FDA also is accepting comments on a planned FDA study examining consumer comprehension of inclusion of a toll-free number to report side effects in direct-to-consumer prescription drug television advertisements.
  • Other CMS Developments. CMS has released an “Issues Paper” on its Medicare value-based purchasing program for physician and other professional services; proposed three national coverage determinations to ensure that Medicare does not cover certain types of preventable surgical errors; announced the technical specifications for a new incentive program to promote electronic prescribing; updated physicians on the suspension of the Medicare Part B drug competitive acquisition program for 2009; and released the 2009 Medicare durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies fee schedule.
  • Other FDA Developments. The FDA has released guidance documents on “Cooperative Manufacturing Arrangements for Licensed Biologics” and “Submission of Patent Information for Certain Old Antibiotics.” In addition, the FDA has announced that it is teaming with WebMD to expand consumer access to FDA safety alerts and other public health information.
  • OIG Developments. The HHS OIG has released the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC) Program Annual Report for FY 2007 and its Semiannual Report to Congress for the second half of FY 2008. The OIG also has issued an “early alert memo” on “Payments to Medicare Suppliers and Home Health Agencies Associated With ‘Currently Not Collectible’ Overpayments.”
  • Health Industry Events. CMS is hosting listening sessions on electronic prescribing, the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, hospital-acquired conditions, and Medicare inpatient PPS add-on payments for new medical services and technologies. AHRQ is hosting a meeting on kidney disease education.

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