On March 18, the AAMC responded to a request for information (RFI) from the Subcommittee on Treatments of the Healthy Future Task Force, a group of House Republican lawmakers seeking input from stakeholders on a variety of policy issues. The response underscored the AAMC’s commitment to advancing medical research and innovation, as well as ensuring patient access to new drugs, therapies and treatments.
The letter to the subcommittee chairs, Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), and John Joyce (R-Ohio) highlighted key regulatory flexibilities that allowed providers to take advantage of technology and improve patient care, such as through telehealth, the acute hospital care at home program and telemonitoring of patients. The letter also underscored the need for sustained and predictable growth in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies that fund basic research, which is the foundation for treatments, diagnoses, preventative measures and innovative treatments.
The letter urged the subcommittee to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to explore new, alternative reimbursement models for curative therapies, while preserving and strengthening critical safety net programs like the underwriting program. 340B drugs and the Medicaid Drug Reimbursement Program. “A growing number of patients receiving care at AAMC member facilities cannot afford the cost of their treatment. … The AAMC supports efforts to reduce prescription drug costs and improve access to care for patients,” the letter states.
The response also urged the subcommittee to encourage the adoption of new and innovative drugs, devices and diagnostics through regulatory flexibility. Specifically, the AAMC recommended that the subcommittee permanently expand the telehealth flexibilities introduced during the COVID-19 public health emergency, which have expanded access to care for patients in rural and underprivileged communities. served. In addition, the letter recommended extending the waiver of the Acute Hospital Home Care Program, which gives hospitals the flexibility to provide care outside of the hospital setting. The letter pointed out: “As teaching hospitals have grown to meet the capacity demands imposed on them by the [public health emergency], [Acute Hospital Care at Home] have become a valuable resource for both alleviating capacity issues and providing patients with access to care.
Key recommendations were also presented to maintain U.S. leadership in medical research and innovation, including reliable growth in NIH funding. The letter observed, “To be able to meet future infectious disease challenges, the government must continuously invest in sustained and predictable growth in biomedical research funding, through the NIH as well as other research agencies. federal institutions that fund basic research, interdisciplinary work, and translational science. In addition, to increase the efficiency of medical research, the letter recommended that Congress avoid delayed appropriations cycles, which create significant uncertainty in NIH operational planning.
The response concluded by outlining key recommendations for increasing access to medical research and diversifying participation in clinical trials, including opportunities to reduce regulatory burden. research.
The letter advocated community-based research methods, which are instrumental in recruiting trial participants from historically marginalized communities. The letter stated: “The AAMC encourages community participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of clinical research and recommends the specific inclusion of local community partners in discussions regarding the improvement of public awareness of clinical trial opportunities.”
The Healthy Futures Task Force is one of the seven Republican task forces created by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to identify problems facing the United States and develop policy solutions. The AAMC has previously responded to inquiries from the Modernization Sub-Committee and the Security Sub-Committee [refer to Washington Highlights, March 11, Feb. 11].