55th Edition

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55th EditionSeptember 28, 2018

Clifton Corridor Transit Line

Emory is encouraged by MARTA’s announcement yesterday to dedicate $350 million in local funding to the Clifton Corridor Transit Line. We look forward to the official vote on October 4, 2018.

If approved, MARTA and the City of Atlanta will be making an historic commitment to public transportation and to the future of our community. For decades, people across Atlanta, including those at Emory University, Emory Healthcare, businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies along the Clifton Corridor, have supported smart, sustainable and efficient proposals to provide reliable access to essential medical services and jobs. More than a destination for funding, the Clifton Corridor project is a point of departure that will connect people throughout the Atlanta area. The vote by MARTA will mark an important next step in a process that will require stakeholders, including Emory University and Emory Healthcare, to work together to secure funding and make the dream of advancing integrated transit in Atlanta a reality.

Federal matching funds will be critical to the next phase of this effort, and current workforce and population centers are key factors in that evaluation process. We will continue to champion better connections through transit for the 40,000 people who work at Emory University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other organizations here, our 15,000 students, and the over 2 million patient visits to Emory University Hospital and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center each year.

Federal Update

FY2019 Appropriations

Both chambers have now passed the FY2019 Labor-HHS-Education-Defense spending bill (H.R. 6157), which includes $39.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $2 billion increase over the FY2018 level. For the first time in over 20 years, the government has passed legislation to fund 70% of the federal government before the deadline. This bill includes a continuing resolution to fund the remaining 30% through December 7th.

The bill includes funding for a pilot program to address the needs of survivors of military sexual trauma. The bill appropriates $2 million to be shared by several health centers that treat our service members, specifically focusing resources to treat those who suffered  sexual trauma during their time in the military. Emory Healthcare Veterans Program worked closely with OCGA, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Senator David Perdue (R-GA) to draft legislation to address this problem. Once the bill is signed into law, a competitive grant process will begin to award this money to centers across the country.

President Trump is expected to sign the bill before the September 30th deadline. For more specific funding levels, please see this chart from the House Appropriations Committee.

Opioids

Before heading out of town, Congress is expected to pass a large legislative package that addresses the opioid epidemic. Both chambers have worked on this proposal for most of the year and have crafted compromise legislation that Members hope will be quickly signed by the President. Some areas of interest to the Emory community include:

The IMD exclusion: The House bill lifts the so-called "IMD exclusion" — a ban on federal Medicaid funding for mental health treatment facilities with more than 16 beds. It would allow coverage for up to 30 days a year, until 2023. States would receive federal matching funds for services that are provided for less than 31 days per year. There is a separate provision dealing with prenatal care for women suffering from a substance use disorder.

Mental health records: The House bill, unlike the Senate version, includes a provision that makes addiction-related health records easier to share between insurance plans and doctors. It updates a law that requires mental health records to remain separate from other health records. This provision was stripped this week because of concern from the American Medical Association and will not be in the final bill.  

Buprenorphine prescribing: The conferenced bill expands the list of health care providers who can prescribe this form of medication-assisted treatment to include physician assistants, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives and certified registered nurse anesthetists.

The bill includes a number of grants to the states, allowing them to administer their own opioid management programs. The OGCA team is thankful to the Emory experts, like David Wright and Christy Norman, that have engaged with us on this important topic and who continue working on ways to advance Emory’s service to our patients. As information about the state grants become available we will work with experts across Emory to apply for relevant grants.

Once the conferenced bill is passed by both chambers, it will be sent to the President for his signature.

Emory in the Community

Emory Healthcare and DeKalb Medical Celebrate new Partnership

On Friday, September 14th, we participated in a day of celebration in honor of the new partnership between Emory Healthcare and DeKalb Medical. Dr. Jonathan Lewin, Emory Healthcare CEO; Dr. Bryce Gartland, Emory Healthcare Hospital Group President; and Robert Wilson, former DeKalb Medical CEO shared their enthusiasm about this momentous occasion as well as unveiled the new hospital signage. Celebrations occurred at all three of the former DeKalb Medical facilities during the course of the day, and we were joined by several DeKalb County elected officials at each location. Click here to see photos from the day of festivities.  

DeKalb Chamber

On Thursday, September 27th, Dr. Bryce Gartland, Emory Healthcare Hospital Group President (pictured top right) and Robert Wilson, former DeKalb Medical CEO and DeKalb attorney (pictured top left) presented to the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors on the Emory/DeKalb partnership.

Congressman Hank Johnson Visits Emory Oxford

On Tuesday, September 18th, U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA), whose district includes Oxford College of Emory University, visited the Oxford campus to meet with political leaders from Northern Ireland and the Consul General of Ireland. The exchange focused on leadership, and specifically bridging differences and building peaceful flourishing societies.

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