GAO | Appointments to State All Payer Claims Databases Advisory Committee

From the General Accountability Office

WASHINGTON, DC (March 29, 2021) – Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of six members to the newly created State All Payer Claims Databases Advisory Committee (SAPCDAC).

“At almost $4 trillion dollars annually and growing, health care spending poses significant challenges for both the economy as a whole as well as federal and state budgets. State All Payer Claims Databases can assist a wide variety of stakeholders—policymakers, consumers, providers, and payers—in monitoring health care costs, access, and quality,” Dodaro said. “We had a number of exceptional candidates interested in serving on the committee, and the experiences and perspectives of today’s appointees should greatly benefit SAPCDAC as it advises the Secretary of Labor on data standards for voluntary reporting to State All Payer Claims Databases.”

The newly appointed members are Niall Brennan, Cheryl Damberg, Emma Hoo, Frederick Isasi, Mike Kapsa, and Josephine Porter.

Congress established the committee in December 2020 to make recommendations to the Secretary of Labor on the standardized format and associated guidance for the voluntary reporting by group health plans to State All Payer Claims Databases. The Comptroller General is responsible for naming six committee members. Additionally, the Secretary of Labor has responsibility for appointing nine committee members representing various agencies within the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, as well as one chair and one representative of a State All Payer Claims Database.

The No Surprises Act, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, requires the committee to provide recommendations to the Secretary of Labor within 180 days.

For more information, please visit the SAPCDAC website, or email the Department of Labor at SAPCDAC@dol.gov. Other calls should be directed to Chuck Young in GAO’s Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800.

Brief biographies of the new committee members follow:

Niall J. Brennan, MPP, is the President and CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute in Washington, DC, where he leads one of the largest multi-payer claims databases in the country, with 100 million covered lives across the commercial and Medicare sectors. Prior to that role, he held numerous positions involving health care data analytics, including as Chief Data Office at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and as a Senior Analyst at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Mr. Brennan advises Congressional staff and other key health system stakeholders on important health policy and transparency topics, and he has testified before Congress on these issues. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Health Data Organizations and was a cofounder and member of the All Payer Claims Database Council. Mr. Brennan received his MPP from Georgetown University.

Cheryl L. Damberg, PhD, is a Principal Senior Economist and Distinguished Chair in Healthcare Payment Policy at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. She is also Professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She leads health economic and health services research studies focused on health system performance, alternative payment models, price transparency, and the use of incentives to drive system improvement. Before joining RAND, Dr. Damberg held numerous positions, including Director of Research and Quality at the Pacific Business Group on Health. She is an international expert on health system redesign and has advised Congress, federal agencies, and the governments of Great Britain, Germany, and South Korea on the use of incentives and ways to measure provider performance. Dr. Damberg was appointed by California’s governor Newsom as Vice-Chair of the California Healthcare Payments Database (HPD) Review Committee to establish a plan for California’s all payer claims database. She now serves as a member of the HPD Advisory Committee that is guiding the implementation of the California APCD. Dr. Damberg received her PhD in Public Policy from RAND.

Emma Hoo is the Director of Pay-for-Value at the Purchaser Business Group on Health in San Francisco, CA. In that role, she works closely with employer and purchaser groups as well as health plan, provider, and consumer stakeholders to advance health care data availability and transparency. Her focus areas include advancing common Accountable Care Organization quality and efficiency measures, measurement-based behavioral health care, and adoption of patient-reported outcomes measures. She has managed data analytics and evaluation for several pilot programs to test payment reform and health delivery redesign, including an Intensive Outpatient Care Program under a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Award. She also supported the Better Quality Information initiative that aggregated Medicare and commercial claims data to assess the quality of care at various levels of the delivery system. Previously, Ms. Hoo was the Director of Operation at Baycare Medical Group, Inc., where she managed overall operations and management information systems for a 200-member primary care group. She also serves on numerous committees, including the California Healthcare Payments Data Review Committee, which supports the planning and development of a statewide all payer claims database. Ms. Hoo received her BA cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard University.

Frederick Isasi, JD, MPH, is the Executive Director of Families USA in Washington, DC. In that role he directs national, state, and local initiatives to ensure accessible and affordable health care for all consumers. He has testified before congressional committees on the importance of establishing a national all payer claims database to improve the quality of health care, reduce costs, and provide transparency for consumers, policy makers, and other stakeholders. Prior to joining Families USA, Mr. Isasi held various leadership positions involving health care research and state multi-payer claims databases, including as Health Division Director at the National Governors Association and Vice President of Health Policy at The Advisory Board Company. Mr. Isasi received his JD from Duke University in Durham, NC, and his MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Michael J. KapsaPhD, is the Chief Financial Officer of SolidaritUS Health Inc. in Washington, DC, working with local exchanges that share claims databases to develop cost-effective primary care programs for employer and labor union employees. Dr. Kapsa is also Chief Economist for America’s Agenda, a national alliance of international labor unions and employers, where he helps develop federal and state health policy and primary care delivery models aimed at reducing costs and improving health care quality and outcomes. His prior experience includes leadership positions negotiating health and other benefits for various labor union employees, including the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, the Service Employees International Union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Dr. Kapsa received his PhD from the New School for Social Research in New York City.

Josephine Porter, MPH, is the Director of the Institute for Health Policy and Practice at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, overseeing academic health care research and serving as Principal Investigator on a number of research projects. In addition, she is the Co-Chair of All Payer Claims Database (APCD) Council, a partnership with the National Association of Health Data Organizations, which serves as a national learning network for APCDs. In this role, she serves as a national authority on APCD issues, presenting on state and national panels with a focus on the use of APCDs to promote healthcare transparency. She was the lead author on an APCD Development Manual and has been actively involved in the development of a data submission standard to help bring data submission in line across the states. Prior to that, she held a variety of leadership positions in the private and public sectors. Ms. Porter received her MPH from Boston University.

Oregon | President Baird Joins OHA COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee

From the Oregon Department of Human Services on December 31

OHA completes recruitment for COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee

27-member group to create sequencing for COVID-19 immunizations

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority has completed recruitment for its Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC) that will determine the sequence in which new COVID-19 vaccines are distributed around the state.

The 27-member committee will advise OHA on vaccine sequencing for phases 1b, 1c and 2 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, with the goal of prioritizing communities most affected by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee will be grounded in OHA’s definition of health equity, which—as cited in this excerpt—is a health system where “all people can reach their full health potential and well-being and are not disadvantaged by their race, ethnicity, language, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, social class, intersections among these communities or identities, or other socially determined circumstances.”

To advance health equity, and counter unjust COVID-19 inequities, the COVID-19 VAC will:

  • Advise OHA on the ethical principles that should guide decisions on sequencing of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Review data on COVID-19 and immunization inequities.
  • Advise OHA on which workers, high-risk groups or critical populations should be sequenced at what time, taking into consideration where they are located across the state.

The committee roster is as follows:

Aileen Duldulao

Oregon Pacific Islander Coalition

Cherity Bloom-Miller

Siletz Community Health Clinic

Christine Sanders

Rockwood Community Development Corp.

Daysi Bedolla Sotelo

Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste

DeLeesa Meashintubby

Volunteers in Medicine

Debra Whitefoot

Nch’i Wana Housing

Derick Du Vivier

Oregon Health & Science University

Dolores Martinez

Euvalcree

George Conway

Deschutes County Health Services

Kalani Raphael

Oregon Pacific Islander Coalition

Kelly Gonzales

Portland State University

Kristin Milligan

Community Volunteer Network

Laurie Skokan

Providence Health & Services

Leslie Sutton

Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities

Maleka Taylor

The Miracles Club

Maria Loredo

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center

Marin Arreola

Interface Network

Muriel DeLaVergne-Brown

Crook County Health Department

Musse Olol

Somali American Council of Oregon

Nannette Carter-Jafri

SEIU Local 503 Indigenous People’s Caucus

Ruth Gulyas

LeadingAge Oregon

Safina Koreishi

Columbia Pacific CCO

Sandra McDonough

Oregon Business & Industry

Shawn Baird

Metro West Ambulance Service

Sue Steward

Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board

Tsering Sherpa

The Rosewood Initiative

Zhenya Abbruzzese

Adventist Health

“The COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee brings tremendous lived and professional experience to guide OHA’s decisions about vaccine sequencing in a way that upholds OHA’s goal to eliminate health inequities by 2030,” said Cara Biddlecom, OHA deputy public health director.

“Members of this committee represent communities that have been unjustly impacted by COVID-19, including tribal communities and communities of color, and OHA is committed to involving community members in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.”

The committee’s first public meeting is Thursday, Jan. 7, from 9 a.m. to noon. The meeting can be accessed via conference line at 669-254-5252; meeting ID: 160 583 9896.

For more information about the committee, visit the Vaccine Advisory Committee information page. Comments or questions can be emailed to covid.vaccineadvisory@dhsoha.state.or.us.

Stay informed about COVID-19:

Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority leads the state response.

United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the US response.

Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.

CDC ACIP | Reccs for Allocating Initial COVID-19 Vaccines

From the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, 2020

What is already known about this topic?

Demand is expected to exceed supply during the first months of the national COVID-19 vaccination program.

What is added by this report?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended, as interim guidance, that both 1) health care personnel and 2) residents of long-term care facilities be offered COVID-19 vaccine in the initial phase of the vaccination program.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Federal, state, and local jurisdictions should use this guidance for COVID-19 vaccination program planning and implementation. ACIP will consider vaccine-specific recommendations and additional populations when a Food and Drug Administration–authorized vaccine is available.

Continue Reading

Dooling K, McClung N, Chamberland M, et al. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 3 December 2020. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6949e1

Iowa | Pandemic Could Boost Case for First Responders’ ‘Essential’ Status

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa—As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, Iowa’s first responders say the state should no longer hold off on declaring Emergency Medical Services an essential service.

That status is something EMS workers in Iowa have sought long before COVID-19. Being declared “essential” would require ambulance service across the state, instead of relying on a patchwork of volunteers, agencies and providers.

Continue reading at Public News Service►

Legislative hurdles check hazard pay, PSOB benefits

Frustration mounts as small print delays the HEROES Act, and presents a dual standard for provider benefits for the fallen

May 22 at 2:20 PM | EMS1 | By AAA Communications Chair Rob Lawrence

In  my last EMS One-stop column, I commented on the legislative to-do list to ensure that EMS receives the federal support it deserves right now as we staff the front lines and perhaps brace ourselves for COVID-19 round two as the nation craves a return to the normality and liberty enjoyed before the lockdown.

On May 15, 2020, the much talked about HEROES Act narrowly passed from the U.S. House of Representatives by a 208 to 199 vote to the Republican-controlled Senate.  The HEROES Act proposed $3 trillion in tax cuts and spending to address the negative health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included benefits for the public safety community, extensions to enhanced unemployment benefits, debt collection relief, direct cash payments to households and possibly even hazard pay.

Continue reading►

Wisconsin | Governor Evers Announces $100m in Relief

Wisconsin Governor Evers Announces $100 Million in Relief for Long-Term Care, Home and Community Based Services, and Emergency Medical Services

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced a grant program funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Totaling $100 million dollars, the funding will support providers most at-risk for financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. The providers targeted for financial assistance include emergency medical services, home and community-based services, and long-term care providers such as skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.”

Read the full press release here

EMS1 | Wisconsin fire, EMS leaders unite in plea for funding

Wisconsin EMS and fire leaders join forces to provide an overview of EMS legislative and regulatory requests to support front line response to COVID-19

I recently reported on how the leaders of a few of our national associations united to tell the story of EMS on the front lines and to draw attention to the shortfalls we are all encountering daily from PPE to funding. EMS providers of all denominations are also coming together at a state level to tell their story and appeal for assistance and funding to ensure the continuity of operations. On Apr. 15, 2020, the Professional Ambulance Association of Wisconsin, Wisconsin EMS Association, Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association conducted an online press conference to discuss the mobile healthcare situation in Wisconsin.

Keep reading & watch the full press conference►