- Congressional Quarterly reports that the Senate Republican leadership is delaying the naming of a Conference Committee with the House on the State Children's Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) reauthorization bills. It further reports that a brief extension of the SCHIP law, e.g., to November 15 may be in the offing. Absent such action, the SCHIP Program authorization will expire on September 30.
- Govexec.com reported this week on federal employee union and NARFE efforts to require FEHB plan carriers to purchase prescription drugs off the Federal Supply Schedule, just like VA and Defense Department health care facilities. Govexec.com also reported this reaction from OPM Associate Director Nancy Kichak:
Nancy Kichak, associate director for strategic human resources policy at OPM, said the agency opposes such a bill. "We want our carriers to have the flexibility to offer a variety of products to encourage competition," she said, adding that OPM would prefer making the supply schedule discounts optional for FEHBP carriers.
Kichak added that while use of the FSS would lower drug costs, it could do away with valuable elements of some plans, such as encouraging the use of generic drugs and allowing employees to obtain prescriptions through mail order. Use of the supply schedule "would only help in one element of the drug purchase, which is cost, and only for those drugs on the schedule," she said.
- Modern Healthcare.com reported on HHS's September 5 forum on converting the American Health Information Community to a private sector organization.
- The September 2007 issue of AIS Health's Report on Patient Privacy is freely available online to sample. My colleague Theresa Defino wrote the interesting front page article on how to handle security breaches and yours truly is quoted inside the publication.
- The Senate confirmed President Bush's appointment of Jim Nussle to serve as Office of Management and Budget Director.