Many initiatives take involvement from ASPEN stakeholders. You can help by reaching out to legislators at the state and federal level and call or email them to share your opinion. Here are steps to take:
- Federal Congress: Go to www.congress.gov to find out your Senate or House members.
- Each of the lists provides their office phone numbers and email address.
- State level: enter https://www.XX.gov/ with XX the abbreviation for your state - For example www.PA.gov is the official state of Pennsylvania website.
- Use the letter template here to create your communication.
Call to Action: Priority Issues
H.R.1888 The Expansion of Nutrition's Role in Curricula and Healthcare (ENRICH) Act – to provide for a grants program to develop and enhance integrated nutrition and physical activity curriculum in medical schools.
Drug Shortage Legislation
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced S.2723 Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages (MEDS Act), legislation that would help increase the supplies of vital drugs needed to treat or prevent a wide variety of diseases, illnesses, and conditions. House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced legislation H.R.4866 National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Act of 2019, that aims to limit drug shortages and spur U.S. drug manufacturing by encouraging use of continuous manufacturing in the development and approval of drugs and biologics. The bill would give FDA $80 million to designate certain universities as National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, which would study and recommend improvements to continuous manufacturing.
A focus of the Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC) this legislative year, a coalition to which ASPEN belongs, has been on STEP therapy. Also known as a ‘fail first’ protocol, STEP therapy protocols mandate patients try and fail medication preferred by the insurer before approving medications prescribed by their doctor. This interferes with the proper control of digestive disorders causing limitations in nutritional intake, malnutrition, and the potential need for either enteral or parenteral nutrition support. On November 30, 2019, DDNC coordinated a National Day of Advocacy to encourage federal legislators to support the Safe Step Act ( H.R. 2279/ S. 2546). A summary of the Day of Advocacy and information on how to contact your legislators to support the Act may be found at this link.
Older Americans Act Reauthorization
HR4334: Dignity in Aging Act of 2019 establishes, reauthorizes, and revises several programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor relating to care for the elderly. Among other things, the bill reauthorizes through FY2024 and revises programs that support:
- caregivers of the elderly;
- informational services, such as pension counseling;
- nutritional services, such as meal delivery;
- disease prevention and health promotion services;
- community and workforce training regarding elder care; and
- abuse and neglect prevention services. The bill also establishes several entities and programs to further support elder care, including initiatives that aim to promote independent living and reduce social isolation for the elderly. This bill was passed in the House on October 28, 2019 and then sent to the Senate where it sits on the Legislative Calendar under General Orders.
The bill also establishes several entities and programs to further support elder care, including initiatives that aim to promote independent living and reduce social isolation for the elderly. This bill was passed in the House on October 28, 2019 and then sent to the Senate where it sits on the Legislative Calendar under General Orders.
The ASPEN Public Policy Committee will be addressing issues with Medicare Coverage Determination policy for home parenteral nutrition, realizing that this has been an issue for decades with very little response from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS. Access for beneficiaries continues to decrease year after year due to an outdated, restrictive policy which many Medicare replacement plans are also adhering to, further limiting patient access to care.
ASPEN Advocacy and Public Policy Coalition Memberships