04-24-13 | Blog Post

2013 HCCA: The Evolving Congressional Landscape

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Online Tech is exhibiting HIPAA hosting solutions at booth #919 at the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)’s 17th Annual Compliance Institute Conference April 21-24 in National Harbor, MD. The conference draws in healthcare compliance professionals, risk managers, privacy officers, healthcare CFOs and CEOs, and more.

The Evolving Congressional Landscape
Speaker: Kimberly Brandt, Chief Oversight Counsel, Senate Finance Committee, Minority Staff
*All views are her own and not Senator Hatch’s or the Finance Committee’s.

What does the Senate Finance Committee Do?
Quick Facts on the Senate Finance Committee:

  • Largest committee in the Senate
  • 24 members  (Including chair and ranking member: 13 Democrats and 11 Republicans)
  • One of the most powerful committees in congress
  • Oversee 50% of the federal budget
  • Confirms over 80 presidential nominations
  • Jurisdiction of Department of HHS – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

What the Senate Finance Committee does:

  • Legislative Hearings – Markups and approval of legislation such as Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • Oversight Hearings – deals with fraud, waste and abuse issues and the implementation of PPACA
  • Confirmation Hearings  – The Senate Finance Committee confirms:
  • Secretary of HHS,
  • CMS Administrator
  • Inspector General of HHS

The three biggest priorities for 113th congress include:

  • Healthcare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
  • Implementation Tax
  • Reform Entitlement Reform – which is a huge issue with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security hurrying towards insolvency.

The Senate Finance Committee will also be conducting investigations on Physician Owned Distributors (PODs). There are concerns related to conflict of interests in regards to PODs that may place personal profit ahead of care. The OIG issued a Special Fraud Alert concerning POD’s. Some of the arrangements are suspect and they want to be sure the arrangements are legal.

There is a high level of regulations as a result of PPACA. Lots of regulator reform and burden issues will continue to be an area of focus surrounding adoption and implementation of PPACA. Fraud and abuse issues are on the rise and a strong focus will be on health reform anti-fraud provisions.

The focus is shifting from complete repeal of PPACA, to targeted repeal between Democrats and Republicans. There have been numerous oversight efforts related to PPACA provisions. Most recently over $1 billion was cut from exchanges related to co-op loan programs due to the fiscal cliff deal.

In regards to the implementation of the PPACA exchanges, 33 states are going to participate in the federal exchanges, while 18 states and D.C. are going to run their own exchanges. These numbers were unexpected and it was actually thought that it would go the other way.

There is great concern regarding the costs of implementing PPACA. So far, HHS has given states more than 3.5 billion to build the technology and infrastructure to operate the health insurance exchanges, yet the IRS and HHS systems are insufficient. $300 million is needed to be sure that the IRS has the right technology and infrastructure in place this year.
For more information visit:

Related Articles:
2013 HCCA: Latest Trends in Data Breach Threats
2013 HCCA: Mobile Threats and How Healthcare Can Reduce Risks
2013 HCCA: Cyber Compliance

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