Modern Healthcare: Senate appropriators boost funds for rural telehealth, opioid epidemic

EXCERPT: “Senate health appropriators proposed a $2.3 billion hike in HHS funding for this year in a bill that marks a step toward regular order for appropriations. The plan emphasizes telemedicine for rural areas and adds almost $150 million in funds to battle the opioid epidemic. The Senate’s $179.3 billion proposal, which earmarks $90.1 billion for HHS, also directly contradicts the White House’s demand earlier this year for a more than 20% cut to HHS’ discretionary funding for fiscal 2019, and follows the upper chamber’s rejection last week of President Donald Trump’s request for $15 billion in rescissions. The bill exceeds the House health spending measure, set for a Thursday markup, by more than $2 billion. The measure’s biggest focus is the opioid epidemic, allocating $1.5 billion to replace the state response grants that 21st Century Cures initiated and are due to run out next spring.” FULLSTORY: