Now that Secretary Tom Price has been confirmed to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), other cabinet-level nominees are continuing through the confirmation process. Seema Verma was approved by a Senate committee and is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate as the next Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator.

Reports are that the Trump administration has also chosen Brian Neale, who helped create Indiana’s conservative version of Medicaid expansion, to lead the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, the part of CMS that directs the Medicaid and CHIP programs. Other high-level executives are expected to be named in the coming months to complete the leadership team at HHS.

In regulatory news, President Trump has signed Executive Order (EO) 1377, which provides some further guidance to his regulatory reform policy. The EO requires the head of each federal agency to designate a regulatory reform officer to direct and enforce the policy. A regulatory reform task force will be named in each agency to evaluate which existing regulations should be repealed or modified.

Task force reports are due within 90 days. The task forces have been directed to concentrate on regulations that eliminate jobs or impose costs greater than the benefits they bring.

And the CMS bundled payment program regulation will have a small delay in its effective date. This rule establishes the mandatory bundled payment for cardiac procedures, as well as expanding the hip and knee replacement bundled payment program. The effective date of this rule has been moved from Feb. 18 to March 21, just beyond the 60-day limit for review of all new regulations by the Trump administration.

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