Alerts
May 2017
2017 Omnibus Agreement: Key Health Provisions

By Julius W. Hobson, Jr.

Congress has completed action on H.R. 244, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2017” [P. L. 115-31]. This bipartisan legislation, which funds the Federal government for the balance of the fiscal year, passed the House by a vote of 309-188 and the Senate by a vote of 79-18. The President signed the bill into law on May 5, 2017. This client alert provides a summary of the health provisions in the legislation by relevant Federal department and agency.

Department of Defense
  • $60 million for peer-reviewed cancer research for cancers not addressed in the breast, prostate, ovarian, kidney, and lung cancer research programs.
  • $300 million for the peer-reviewed medical research program for the following areas: acute lung injury, antimicrobial resistance, arthritis, burn pit exposure, chronic migraine and post-traumatic headache, congenital heart disease, constrictive bronchiolitis, diabetes, dystonia, early trauma thermal regulation, eating disorders, emerging infectious diseases, epidermolysis bullosa, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, Fragile X, Guillain-Barre syndrome, hepatitis B and C, hereditary angioedema, hydrocephalus, immunomonitoring of intestinal transplants, inflammatory bowel diseases, influenza, integrative medicine, interstitial cystitis, malaria, metals toxicology, mitochondrial disease, musculoskeletal disorders, nanomaterials for home regeneration, non-opioid pain management, pancreatitis, pathogen-inactivated dried cryoprecipitate, polycystic kidney disease, post-traumatic osteoarthritis, scleroderma, sleep disorders, spinal muscular atrophy, sustained-release drug delivery, tinnitus, tuberculosis, vaccine development for infectious disease, vascular malformations, and women’s heart disease.
  • The bill expressed concerns about progress by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to fully develop, procure, and deploy an interoperable electronic health record solution.

Financial Services and General Government

  • Executive Office of the President: $114.8 million for federal drug programs under the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
  • General Provisions: Section 726 requires health plans participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to provide contraceptive coverage and provides exemptions to certain religious plans.

Department of Health and Human Services

  • Affordable Care Act: Eliminates funding for the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Continues a provision requiring the Administration to operate the ACA Risk Corridor program in a budget neutral manner by prohibiting any funds from the bill to be used as payments for the Risk Corridor program.
  • Rural Health Care: $156.1 million, an increase of $6.5 million.
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): Supports funding for Title VII health professions programs, educational and training grants to medical schools and teaching hospitals to develop innovative educational materials related to substance use disorders and pain management. 
  • Nursing Programs: $229.4 million for Nursing Programs, the same as the previous fiscal year.
  • Training in Primary Care Medicine: $38.9 million, same as FY 2016.
  • Oral Health Training: $36.6 million, an increase of $800,000.
  • Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education: $300 million, an increase of $5 million.
  • Maternal and Child Health Block Grant: $641.7 million, an increase of $3.5 million.
  • Community Health Centers: $1.4 billion, $900 million less than in FY 2016.
  • 340B Drug Program--HRSA is requested to provide a briefing to the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate on the status of the secure website within 90 days of enactment. Provides an additional $1.5 million for telehealth.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: $6.2 billion for CDC, including $394 million to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the Zika virus.
  • $160 million for the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant
  • National Institutes of Health: $34.0 billion, an increase of $2 billion.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Critical Access Hospitals: The agreement continued to note its concerns about the proposal to eliminate critical access hospitals (CAH) status from facilities located less than 10 miles from another hospital and reducing the reimbursement rate from 101 to 100 percent on the hospitals to properly provide care to local residents. The agreement directs CMS to take steps to limit the negative impact of the proposed rate reduction on these hospitals.
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: $324 million, $10 million less than FY 2016.

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