161st Edition

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161st EditionMarch 07, 2024

State Affairs

President Fenves at the Capitol 
On March 5, President Gregory L. Fenves visited the Georgia State Capitol, alongside Cameron Taylor and Sydney Wilkins, to speak with lawmakers regarding the opportunities and challenges facing Emory. President Fenves met with Governor Kemp’s Chief of Staff Lauren Curry, Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Ben Watson (first photo below) and Representative Omari Crawford (second photo below). He shared Emory’s priorities for this legislative session, spoke of our impact across the state and offered Emory as a resource and partner.

Crossover Day 
Feb. 29 was Crossover Day at the State Capitol — when all bills must be passed from their chamber of origin to still be “alive” and available for consideration for the remainder of the legislative session. The week was busy as legislators maneuvered to advance their bills before the deadline. The State Affairs team was at the Capitol until midnight tracking legislation and providing Emory’s perspective on relevant bills. Several bills that Emory has been following crossed over, including legislation related to Certificate of Need (CON), opioid supply, donor intent and hospital transparency. The last day of the session is March 28. Because it is the second year of the two-year biennium, all legislation not passed by that date will be considered “dead.” 

Dr. Lee at the Statehouse  
On Feb. 21, CEO of Emory Healthcare Dr. Joon Lee visited the State Capitol to discuss Emory’s health care initiatives, budget requests and pending legislation. Dr. Lee met with Chairman of the Senate Public Safety Committee John Albers on heart transplant reimbursements, Representative Darlene Taylor on Emory’s new budget asks for fiscal year 2025 and Chairman of the House Health Committee Lee Hawkins on Certificate of Need (CON) legislation. Dr. Lee also addressed the Senate Democratic Caucus (photo below) and shared Emory’s perspective on Medicaid expansion, CON reform and other pending health care issues.

Black History Month Day  
On Feb. 7, Emory students, staff and faculty participated in the 2nd Annual Black History Month Day at the Capitol. The group toured the Georgia State Capitol, watched the legislative session from the gallery, connected with lawmakers, heard from speakers and learned about civic engagement. The State Affairs team provided an overview of Emory’s work at the Capitol. The trip was organized by the Emory Votes Initiative/Center for Civic and Community Engagement, Emory Black Employee Network and the Emory Black Student Union.

Federal Affairs

FY25 Government Funding Update 
On March 6, the House passed a package of six appropriations bills that provide funding for fiscal year 2024 for agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Senate is expected to pass the funding package ahead of tomorrow's deadline. In some good news, this package includes relief from impending DSH (Disproportionate Share Hospital) payment cuts and a reduction of current Medicare payment cuts for providers. In some concerning news, the National Science Foundation, an agency with which Emory works, was funded at $9.1 billion, a decrease of $479 million from last year’s funding. We expect these bills to pass Congress and be sent to the President before the deadline on March 8.

We expect health care and education funding to be included in the next round of appropriations. It will be more challenging to reach a bipartisan agreement on this second package. It is predicted that funding for research programs, including the National Institutes of Health, will be lower than in previous years. The OGCA team is working closely with our partners on Capitol Hill to ensure Emory’s priorities, like robust research funding, are included in the final spending packages.     

Cyberattack on Change Healthcare  
Following the recent cyberattack on the Change Healthcare online platforms, Dr. Alistair Erskine and the OGCA team met with senior staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to discuss Emory’s experience, as well as the potential long-term implications of the attack. The OGCA team is working with our delegation, HHS and national health care associations to advocate for support and funding for health care entities that were affected by this attack. Further, we have been educating our state leaders about the significant long-term risk to Georgia’s health care infrastructure. 

Senators Warnock and Vance Advocate for Seniors' Cardiovascular Care  
This week, Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Senator JD Vance (R-OH) sent a letter to Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), to raise concerns over harmful gaps in cardiovascular care for Medicare beneficiaries. The letter poses questions to GAO on the cardiovascular screening services provided to Medicare beneficiaries regarding care settings, effectiveness and utilization by demographic characteristics. Emory is appreciative of the efforts of Senator Warnock, as it is a step toward ensuring patients have access to excellent care. 

President Biden’s State of the Union Address  
On March 7 at 9 p.m., President Biden will provide an update on the Administration’s top priorities during his State of the Union Address. The State of the Union provides a unique opportunity for the President to address all members of Congress simultaneously. We predict that President Biden will discuss his FY25 budget — which is expected to be released on March 11. You may livestream President Biden’s 2024 State of the Union Address online.

See our latest Emory Capitol Hill Report, curated specifically for our federal audience on Capitol Hill.

Community Affairs

DeKalb CEO Town Hall 
On Feb. 26, Emory’s OGCA hosted a town hall for announced DeKalb CEO candidates. The event was sponsored by the Druid Hills Civic Association. Attendees in the packed room heard from DeKalb Commissioners Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, Larry Johnson and Steve Bradshaw on various issues and questions from moderator Dale Russell. DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond ends his tenure on Dec. 31, 2024, a role he has served in since 2016.


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