- Govexec.com reports that federal employee unions are "cautiously optimistic" about President Bush's appointment of Michael Hager to serve as OPM Director. According to the report, "Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union,
said she would try to meet with Hager as soon as possible and make the
last few months in the Bush administration productive ones. 'OPM has many important responsibilities in the months ahead, not the least of which is leveraging the size of the [Federal Employees Health Benefits] program to keep health care costs for federal employees from increasing,' she said. The current director certainly has a good track record there.
- The Wall Street Journal today reports on the growth of urgent care clinics, such as Minute Clinic. Laura Landro notes that the clinics are a cost effective option to emergency rooms. I also located this Deloitte & Touche report on these facilities. Interestingly, Ms. Landro also reports that "the Urgent Care Association of America, a trade group representing
3,141 urgent-care professionals, struck an agreement with the Joint Commission, the non-profit group that accredits hospitals and other health-care organizations, to take over accreditation and publish national quality standards by 2010." She quotes Aetna's medical director as saying "We'd look far more favorably at an urgent-care clinic that was accredited than one that wasn't."
- As I expected, doctors and hospitals are complaining about CMS's recent expansion of its never events list. "'It’s questionable whether the conditions are preventable and how they
are to be recorded as present-on-admission is unclear', said Beth Feldpush, senior associate director for policy at the American Hospital Association" in a Modern Healthcare.com article.
- The Chicago Tribune reports that Walgreen's Pharmacies is expanding its generic drug discount club in an effort to compete with Wal-Mart's $4 generic drug program.