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On the Hill: House, Senate Panels Pass Burnout Relief Bill

Julia Grady
May 24, 2024

Legislation that would reauthorize grants to hospitals and other health care entities to combat burnout and improve providers’ mental and behavioral health cleared key House and Senate committees last week.

The Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the full Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions each marked up and passed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R. 7153, S. 3679). The bill, which America’s Essential Hospitals has formally endorsed, would reauthorize for five years the act’s funding of education, peer-support programs, behavioral and mental health treatment, and other activities related to provider burnout.

The HELP Committee also passed the Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorization Act of 2024 (S. 3765), which reauthorizes through fiscal year 2029 a grant program for emergency medical services for children.

Hearing on Site-Neutral Payment Policy

The House Committee on the Budget held a hearing on the effects of health care consolidation. Lawmakers discussed several ideas for lowering U.S. health care costs, such as through site-neutral payment cuts, changes to the 340B Drug Pricing Program, increased transparency, and other policies to change incentives to consolidate. Other topics of focus included pharmacy benefit managers, physician reimbursements, and access to care in rural communities.

The House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on the challenges facing independent medicine. Subcommittee members stated that growing administrative and overhead costs and shrinking reimbursement rates contribute to consolidation, which often results in higher health care costs and lower quality. Members expressed concern that consolidation would especially impact care in rural and underserved areas. Several suggested site-neutral payment policies as an answer to their consolidation concerns.

Committee Activity This Week   

The Senate and House will be on recess Tuesday through Friday following Monday’s Memorial Day federal holiday. Both chambers will reconvene June 3.

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