6 minutes reading time (1210 words)

ARN Health Policy Digest – October 2022

We are pleased to present the October issue of the ARN Health Policy Digest. This member benefit provides updates on health policy and legislative and regulatory developments that may be of interest to rehabilitation nurses.

Congress Avoids Government Shutdown 

Last month, we reported that Congress was working to pass a continuing resolution (CR) before the fiscal year ended on September 30 to avoid a government shutdown. After weeks of negotiations, Congress successfully passed a CR, providing government funding at current levels through December 16. This deadline will give lawmakers time to advance a fiscal year (FY) 2023 omnibus appropriations bill when they return to Washington after the November midterm elections. However, Democrats and Republicans are still divided on top-line spending levels for defense and non-defense programs and a bipartisan agreement on FY 2023 spending levels must be reached by the time the CR expires. Whether or not lawmakers can meet the December 16 deadline will largely depend on the outcome of the election as some Republican lawmakers would like to push the spending deal into the new year when they could have control of the House and/or Senate. Nevertheless, Senate Appropriations Chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) is urging his colleagues in Congress not to pass anymore CRs once this one expires, stating that this action would be "irresponsible" and calling on Congress to "do its job." We look forward to keeping ARN members updated as the FY 2023 appropriations process continues after the midterm elections.

HHS Renews COVID-19 PHE Declaration

Effective October 13, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra extended the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) for an additional 90 days, until mid-January 2023. As a reminder, the PHE declaration waives the three-hour rule, allows for telehealth flexibilities, Medicaid continuous coverage provisions, and provides free COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines. Secretary Becerra has committed to providing 60-days' advance notice when HHS plans to end the PHE. We will be monitoring this renewal and plan to keep ARN members apprised.

Congress Introduces ICAN Act 

In September, Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) introduced the Improving Care and Access to Nurses (ICAN) Act (H.R. 8812). This bipartisan legislation helps to remove outdated barriers that prevent APRNs from practicing to the full extent of their education and clinical training. Accordingly, the bill will increase access to services provided by APRNs. ARN has endorsed the legislation and looks forward to working with Congress and likeminded organizations to ensure that the bill becomes law.

CMS Proposes National Directory of Healthcare Providers & Services 

On October 7, CMS opened a 60-day comment period for a request for information (RFI) on the establishment of a National Directory of Healthcare Providers & Services. This directory would create a centralized hub for healthcare provider, facility, and entity directory information nationwide, and aims to remove the burden from providers using an Application Programming Interface (API). In addition, a national directory would better help patients in their efforts to locate providers that meet their individual needs and preferences. The RFI will be open for comment until December 6.

With New American Rescue Plan Funding, HHS Expands and Strengthens the Community and Public Health Workforce 

With funding made available by the American Rescue Plan Act, HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded more than $266 million to grantees for the Community Health Worker Training Program and the Public Health Scholarship Program. These grants will support community and public health workers in numerous ways including training, apprenticeship, in addition to incentivizing individuals to pursue career paths within the public health workforce.

HHS Report Links COVID-19 Vaccinations with Fewer Hospitalizations and Deaths 

HHS recently published a report showing findings from a COVID-19 study conducted by researchers from HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). Study results show that COVID-19 vaccinations were linked to more than 650,000 fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations and more than 300,000 fewer deaths among seniors and other Americans enrolled in Medicare. For more information on the study and its findings, you can read the report here.  

Understanding Long-Term COVID-19 Symptoms and Enhancing Recovery 

Long COVID, or post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), has had long-lasting, negative effects to those suffering from it. Individuals with long COVID experience continued symptoms, including debilitating fatigue, shortness of breath, pain, difficulty sleeping, racing heart rate, exercise intolerance, gastrointestinal and other symptoms, as well as cognitive problems that make it difficult to perform at work or school. An initiative developed by several National Institutes of Health's (NIH) institutes, including the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is aimed at studying PASC to better understand this urgent public health issue. The initiative, Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER), studies fundamental questions to understand who is at risk and to understand the biological basis of Long COVID. You can read more about the study here.

Funding Opportunities 

The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) regularly update their websites with new and continued funding opportunities. We have listed multiple opportunities below. However, to stay up-to-date on all NINR and NIDILRR grant opportunities, you can visit https://www.grants.gov/ and use the search terms NINR and NIDILRR.

New NINR Funding Opportunities 

  • RFA-NR-23-001: HEAL Initiative: Prevention and Management of Chronic Pain in Rural Populations (UG3/UH3, Clinical Trials Required) encourages UG3/UH3 phased cooperative research applications to accelerate implementation of effective non-opioid interventions for chronic pain management in rural and remote populations. Application Due Date: November 21, 2022
  • NOT-HD-22-043: Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Implementation Science to Advance Maternal Health and Maternal Health Equity for the IMPROVE initiative seeks to stimulate dissemination and implementation research on innovative approaches built on evidence-based findings from foundational research on factors that contribute to maternal morbidity and mortality. First Application Due Date: February 6, 2023
  • RFA-OD-22-027: Advanced Training in Artificial Intelligence for Precision Nutrition Science Research (AIPrN) – Institutional Research Training Programs (T32) invites applications for new institutional training programs (predoctoral, postdoctoral or both) in Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Precision Nutrition (AIPrN) focused on the integration of precision nutrition, AI, machine learning (ML), systems biology, systems science, Big Data, and computational analytics. Application Due Date: December 8, 2022

New NIDILRR Funding Opportunities 

feature about

2023 Annual Conference

Presented both virtually and in-person at the Rhode Island Providence Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island, we look forward to sharing more information with you about the speakers, presentations, and more.

Learn More