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On the Hill: FDA Approval Process, SGR, Budget

The U.S. House of Representatives stands in recess this week, but legislative work continues in the Senate.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing on Tuesday to review medical innovation for patients. Witnesses will include Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and Margaret Hamburg, MD, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The hearing will focus on approval processes for drugs and medical devices. Committee leaders want to examine process changes that could spur more innovation without compromising consumer and patient safety.

Also, Congress has until the end of the month to act on legislation to extend a delay of sustainable growth rate formula cuts, which would significantly reduce physician Medicare payments beginning April 1. The cuts have been delayed 17 times since 2002. Discussions on Capitol Hill are ongoing regarding how long to delay the cuts and how to pay for the delay. Also expected later this month: Congressional consideration of the fiscal year 2016 federal budget.

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About the Author

Jocelyn Wiles is the manager of legislative affairs at America's Essential Hospitals.

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