Health Reform + Related Health Policy News Update - January 24, 2013

In This Issue:

- OMB Directs Department Heads to Prepare for Sequestration

- HHS Finalizes Omnibus HIPAA Rule, Enhances Privacy Requirements

- SCOTUS Says Equitable Tolling Not a Factor in DSH Case

- Report Shows Increased Interest in Orphan Drug Development

- Business Leaders Push for Entitlement Reform

- Grassley, Klobuchar Vow to Take on Pay-for-Delay Issue

- AMA Announces $10 Million for Innovative Ideas in Training for the Future

- JAMA Features Studies on Reducing Hospital Readmissions

- Excerpt from OMB Directs Department Heads to Prepare for Sequestration:

Officials at the Office and Management and Budget instructed federal agencies last week to identify how they plan to cut back on spending if sequestration goes into effect on March 1. OMB stressed the importance of minimizing the impact of the cuts on core missions and being alert for issues that could jeopardize life, safety or health. OMB Deputy Director for Management Jeffrey Zients said that agencies must to be prepared to continue operations should sequestration remain in place for an extended period of time. He said that federal agencies will likely need to furlough hundreds of thousands of employees, resulting in the reduction of essential services such as food inspections, air travel safety, prison security, border patrols, and other mission-critical activities. Zients also pointed out that although the sequester was delayed by two months, “agencies had already engaged in extensive planning for operations under post-sequestration funding levels before this postponement was effected.”

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