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Sen. John Thune (R-SD) has introduced legislation, the proposed Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015 (S 1916) that would amend the Communications Act to permit skilled nursing facilities to apply for support from the Universal Service Fundís Rural Health Care Program (RHCP).
The bill was introduced this past May in the Senate by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and in the House by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). As of Wednesday, July 29, ten senators and more than 30 representatives have signed on as cosponsors. Conspicuously absent from the list of cosponsors is the name of a single Republican lawmaker, including the current chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
Key leaders of the House Energy & Commerce Committee have fired off a joint letter to Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, seeking documents regarding the Obama administrationís lessons learned from the previous flu season, as well as details about the nationís preparedness efforts in advance of the upcoming flu season. The issue is especially important to the nationís elderly population, in that this group is particularly vulnerable to influenza.
Subcommittee members and witnesses discussed recent reports from the Department of Health & Human Servicesí Office of Inspector General highlighting weaknesses which make Medicare Part D fraud and abuse possible, and also providing guidance for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to proactively prevent fraud and abuse.