Pictured (left to right): Shannon Gravitte, AdventHealth; Isabella Ido, Office of Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Michael Griffin, AdventHealth; Wonha Kim, Loma Linda Health Policy Institute; Julia Drefke, Advent Health; and, Jimmy Phillips, Kettering Health. Additional participants (not pictured): Shandra Secor, Loma Linda Health and David McNitt, AHPA/AdventHealth.

On June 4th and 5th, AHPA’s Management Committee and AHPA system’s communications leadership met jointly in Washington DC to discuss community benefit and public policy issues. The AHPA Management Committee spent the 5th on Capitol Hill meeting with key Congressional offices that champion lowering health care costs, improving wellness and nutrition, the future of AI regulation in health care, reforming prior authorization and addressing clinical workforce shortages.

The advocacy meetings kicked off in the office of Hunger Caucus Chairman Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) who is the top Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee. Rep. McGovern’s true passion is addressing hunger and food insecurity needs. He is the founder of the bipartisan House Hunger Caucus, and is pioneering policies that would create nutrition benefits in Medicare and Medicaid. AHPA is supporting his Medically Tailored Home-Delivered Meals Demonstration Pilot Act (H.R. 6780) which would “would test various Medicare payment and delivery models to improve health outcomes for some of the nation’s most vulnerable seniors”. This is an important bill to generate the data and policy arguments necessary to pursue a dramatic and permanent expansion of nutrition benefits.

AHPA also met with Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) Agriculture Committee Staff to support the 5-year reauthorization of the Department of Agriculture nutrition programs in the FARM bill, which are stuck in a contentious Congressional negotiation. The Committee remarked that AHPA was one of the only health care stakeholders to engage on the FARM bill, and the support coming from a non-traditional is welcome and impactful.

AHPA met with bipartisan champions of eliminating wasteful electronic transfer fees applied to Medicare claims that have been increasing the cost of health care since 2017. Reps. Greg Murphy (R-NC) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced the No Fees for EFT’s Act which would ban health plans and their third party payment processors from applying any fees beyond the traditional bank transfer fees to electronically processed claims. Additional fees were banned by CMS until 2017 when the prohibition was rescinded. Since then, the prevalence and amount of these fees have been skyrocketing, as captured in a national survey by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). Eliminating these fees would return 1% to over 3% of our impacted claims to supporting clinical care in our communities. AHPA is one of the largest stakeholder groups prioritizing this legislation for the year-end Congressional session. This is an example of the kinds of impactful policies, which may not make national headlines, where AHPA is playing a critical role as a stakeholder leader.

As we look to longer-term AHPA priorities, AHPA met with the offices of:

  • Loma Linda Representative & AI Task Force Chairman Jay Obernolte (R-CA). AHPA and the Adventist Bioethics Consortium are developing a position paper on AI regulation. During the AHPA meeting, attorneys Lynn Shapiro Snyder and Rachel Good presented on the applications of AI in health care and the future of AI regulation (Slides).
  • AdventHealth Senator Richard Durbin’s (D-IL) Judiciary Committee Staff on lifting the visa caps on health care workers through his Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act.
  • Kettering Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to thank him for stopping CMS from clawing back tens-of-millions of dollars from our hospital-affiliated universities by passing the AHPA supported TRAIN Act.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on his bipartisan proposal to reform primary care reimbursement through a hybrid value-based care/fee for service model and draft legislation to curb the implementation of additional unnecessary prior authorization models.