Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend update / Miscellany

  • Modern Healthcare reports that the Senate Finance Committee will vote on Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sibelius's nomination to be HHS Secretary on April 21 (time as yet undetermined) following "a roundtable discussion with industry policy-shapers on how to change the way healthcare is delivered in the U.S." In a post last week, I noted that health care reform czar Nancy-Ann DeParle's advocacy for a public plan option represents the camel's nose under the tent. That's a poor analogy when you consider that the fact that due to the expansion of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program, the government already pays for almost 1/2 of health care in the U.S. So for better or worse, the camel already is in the tent. I need to be more careful with my analogies.

  • HHS released guidance Friday on securing protected health information and preventing harm from breaches. HHS provides no new guidance on securing electronic PHI and HHS asks stateholders how to secure paper based PHI. Once the paper is disclosed, e.g., mailed, I am stumped on how you feasibly can make paper unreadable or indecipherable. The security breach provisions of the stimulus act are a terribly flawed law. HHS is accepting comments on the guidance until May 21, 2009.
  • On April 13, CMS announced its pilot program to reduce Medicare hospital readmissions in fourteen communities.
  • Business Insurance reports that the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans released a survey about the recession's impact on benefit plans from the perspective of employers and employees.

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