Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday notes

OPM has posted on the web its proposed 2010 - 2015 strategic plan. OPM currently is soliciting public comment on the plan. The plan assumes status quo for the FEHB Program.

HHS announced today that it is transferring HIPAA Security Rule enforcement authority from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to the HHS Office for Civil Rights. OCR currently enforces the HIPAA Privacy Rule. "Through a separate delegation, CMS continues to have authority for administration and enforcement of the HIPAA Administrative Simplification regulations, other than privacy and security of health information."

Sen. Charles Schumer (D N.Y.) told reports today that "Senate Democrats won't hesitate to forgo [the Senate Finance Committee efforts at] bipartisanship to pass a health-overhaul bill if negotiations fail in the next month." according to a Wall Street Journal report. The Politico reports that "internal [Finance Committee] clashes about the government insurance [or public] option have begun to spill into the open — as Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has gone public with his case against consumer-owned health care cooperatives . . . ." The Hill reports that Sen. Charles Grassley (R Iowa), one of the Finance Committee negotiators, is predicting a final vote on health care reform in mid November, shortly before Thanksgiving.

Finally, Business Insurance reports that Aetna is buying an employee assistance program provider from Psychiatric Solutions, Inc., for $70 million. "he Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Aetna’s PBM was being shopped by investment banks, and potential purchasers included CVS Caremark Corp., Medco Health Solutions Inc. or Express Scripts Inc."

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