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News & Press: Government Affairs News

HHS, Other Health Agencies on Communications Freeze

Tuesday, January 24, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bradley Coffey, MA, AAOE Government Affairs
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Washington, DC - The Trump administration has issued a memorandum to federal health agencies restricting external communications, press releases, and social media postings, according to Politico.  Employees at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) told the newspaper they received the memo on January 24.

"For your additional awareness, please note that we have been directed not to send any correspondence to public officials (to include Members of Congress and state and local officials) between now and February 3, unless specifically authorized by the Department," said the Politico obtained memo. Officials indicated the February 3 deadline was confusing and it is not clear if it points to a larger policy move that could occur around that time.

Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have also indicated that they are not to communicate with external parties including via the CMS Twitter account. Other agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), report "mass confusion" about the freeze.

The memo comes days after President Trump was inaugurated in Washington, DC and could be an opportunity for the new administration to brief department heads on communications strategies for the administration however, it's unclear if previous administrations have ever ordered a communications freeze even to Members of Congress. The freeze also comes as the Republican majority in Congress is working to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and there has been intense speculation about what could replace it.

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