KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Senate Gives Final Approval To Bill Tightening Control Over Drug-Compounding Pharmacies

The Senate gave final approval to a bill Monday that gives federal regulators greater oversight of compounding pharmacies like the ones responsible for a deadly meningitis outbreak last year. The president is expected to sign the bill. 

The New York Times: Bill On Drug Compounding Clears Congress A Year After A Meningitis Outbreak
A bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration more power to police compounding pharmacies passed its final hurdle in Congress on Monday, in what experts said was an important step to a safer drug supply in the United States (Tavernise, 11/18).

Modern Healthcare: Bill Boosting FDA Authority Over Compounding Pharmacies Heads To Obama
The U.S. Senate voted Monday to strengthen the Food and Drug Administration's authority over compounding pharmacies that produce large volumes of mixed drugs. The president is expected to sign the legislation, which will reach his desk about a year after drugs distributed by one such compounder led to a deadly multistate meningitis outbreak (Lee, 11/18).

In other news --

Medpage Today: SGR Repeal Bill Still Gets AMA Support
The American Medical Association's policymaking House of Delegates voted nearly unanimously to continue its support of a congressional proposal to repeal Medicare's payment formula despite opposition to a 10-year pay freeze that's part of the draft. The vote, which came … Monday afternoon at the group's interim meeting, comes with the added caveat that the AMA continue to push for future positive updates to physician payments under Medicare. The AMA -- while backing the broader concept of a repeal of Medicare's sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula -- has strongly opposed the concept of freezing physician payments for a decade as part of the move to kill the SGR (Pittman, 11/18).

CQ HealthBeat: Hospital 'Bad Debt' Reimbursements Could Be Targeted In Budget Talks
Hospitals are sure to resist efforts to further reduce the amount of "bad debt" that Medicare lets them write off, as budget negotiators look for savings in entitlement programs. Last year, Congress reduced the amount of Medicare reimbursements to hospitals and other medical facilities that make up for patients who do not pay their out-of-pocket costs (Ethridge, 11/18).

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