Federal Legislation Addressing Burnout and Other Federal Updates Banner Image

Healthcare Law Blog

Federal Legislation Addressing Burnout and Other Federal Updates

August 23, 2022

For more information about this blog post, please contact Ryan L. O’Neill or Labinot Alexander Berlajolli.

Federal Mental Protection Legislation for healthcare Providers Becomes Law

Federal legislation to improve mental and behavioral health among healthcare providers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic was recently signed into law. Public Health Law No. 117-105, also known as the Dr. Lorna Breen healthcare Provider Protection Act, establishes grants and requires other activities to improve mental and behavioral health among healthcare providers. Such grants will be made available for hospitals, medical professional associations and other healthcare entities.

Specifically, under the law, the United States Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS") must award grants for training health professional students, residents and other healthcare professionals to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions and substance use disorders. The law further establishes a national education and awareness initiative regarding healthcare worker mental health, and studies on mental and behavioral health and burnout among healthcare workers.

The Dr. Lorna Breen healthcare Provider Protection Act is the latest in recent federal efforts to address healthcare worker mental health and burnout in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The full text of the Dr. Lorna Breen healthcare Provider Protection Act can be read here.

HHS Repeals Final Rules Regarding Guidance, Enforcement, and Adjudication Procedures

In a recent final rule, 87 FR 44002, HHS announced that it would repeal regulations issued under two prior final rules: “Department of Health and Human Services Good Guidance Practices” (85 FR 78770); issued 12/7/2020) and “Department of Health and Human Services Transparency and Fairness in Civil Administrative Enforcement Actions” (86 FR 3010); issued 1/14/2021). The final rules had previously been codified as regulations, collectively, at 45 C.F.R. Part 1.


Both former final rules had been issued, and codified, pursuant to Executive Orders (E.O. 13891 and E.O. 13892). Both Executive Orders were subsequently repealed by the Biden Administration via E.O. 13992. The repeal of the HHS final rules removes multiple standards and requirements which heightened the administrative burdens of HHS when issuing guidance or pursuing civil enforcement actions.

The full text of 87 FR 44002 can be accessed here. HHS has not yet released a fact sheet summarizing this final rule.

CMS Announces New Quality Measure Targets for State Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service ("CMS") recently released a set of new Home and Community-Based Services ("HCBS") quality measures through a guidance letter issued directly to each State Medicaid Director (SMD# 22-003). Millions of Americans rely on Medicaid for HCBS, though coverage varies state by state. Accordingly, the HCBS Quality Measure is designed, at a national level, to provide insight into the quality of state Medicaid programs, enable states to measure and improve outcomes for Medicaid HCBS beneficiaries relying on long-term Medicaid services, and improve health equity.

The measures seek to address HCBS quality and outcomes in the following key priority areas:

  1. Access and awareness of eligible Medicaid beneficiaries to available HCBS resources.
  2. Opportunities for rebalancing of Medicaid spending and use of services and supports delivered in home and community-based settings relative to institutional settings.
  3. Community integration, which is focused on ensuring the self-determination, independence, empowerment, and full inclusion of eligible Medicaid beneficiaries.

CMS has stated that it will release additional technical details on each measure in future guidance. The CMS guidance letter outlining the new HCBS quality measure targets can be read here.

HHS Final Rule Regarding Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2023 Take Effect

An HHS final rule (87 FR 27208) regarding federal qualified health plans ("QHPs") recently went into effect, implementing new CMS standards and requirements for QHP issuers and related entities. The final rule seeks to strengthen the coverage options offered by QHPs listed on federal and state marketplaces that are hosted on the federal platform while also streamlining QHP review and comparison by consumers.

Under the final rule, QHP issuers face a host of new and updated standards. QHP issuers are now required to offer standardized plan options at every product network type, at every metal level (bronze, silver, gold, etc.), and throughout every service area in which they offer non-standardized options in plan year ("PY") 2023 and beyond. Additionally, CMS will conduct network adequacy reviews in all states with a Federally-Facilitated Marketplace ("FFM"), evaluating QHPs for compliance with quantitative network adequacy standards based on time and distance standards. Additionally, CMS has finalized multiple requirements designed to advance health equity in QHPS, including updating nondiscrimination policies affecting health plan designs and scaling back special enrollment period ("SEP") verification.

The full text of the final rule is available here. A fact sheet regarding the final rule may be read here.

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