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Alliance for Aging Research Responds to Office of Civil Rights Proposed Rule on Nondiscrimination Protections

Published October 5, 2022

The Alliance for Aging Research responded to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) request for comment on a new proposed rule to restore and strengthen protections for patients through the implementation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in certain health programs and activities that fall under the purview of HHS. 

The proposed rule touched on many of the Alliance’s advocacy priorities, and the Alliance was encouraged to see that OCR noted value assessment’s discriminatory impact on patient access. Our comments highlighted the need for HHS to partner with organizations developing comparative effectiveness research and value assessment frameworks that prioritize patient-preferred outcomes and encourage equitable outcomes. Further, the Alliance also expressed explicit opposition to any partnership between HHS and the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review in the implementation of price negotiation provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act due to ICER’s reliance on discriminatory methodologies 

Additionally, the Alliance’s comments highlighted the need for future pandemic preparedness to protect older populations from being deprioritized in healthcare triage and shortage situations, raised the need for HHS to address implicit bias in clinical decision-making algorithms, and advocated for increased access to telehealth services following the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. To read the full letter, click here.

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