Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mid-week update

Yesterday, the Office of Personnel Management issued two new systems of records notices -- one for the Inspector General's existing FEHBP claims data warehouse and the other for OPM's new warehouse. The FEHBP claims data will flow from the Inspector General's warehouse to OPM's warehouse under an Economy Act agreement. OPM explains that "the primary purpose" behind creating this new warehouse "is to provide a central database from which OPM may analyze the FEHBP to support the management of the program to ensure the best value for the enrollees and taxpayers." Computer World reports on this development here. OPM plans to implement the systems of records on July 15, 2011, "unless comments are received that would result in a contrary determination."

Standard & Poors released its latest monthly healthcare economic indices today. "Over the year ending April 2011, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance increased by 7.13%, as measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index. Medicare claim costs rose at an annual rate of 2.48%, as measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index. With April’s data, the Medicare Index posted another record low annual growth rate in its six-year history." In other words, Medicare continues to shift costs onto the private sector.

HHS released a National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy today . Modern Healthcare explains 

Authorized in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the National Prevention Strategy is based on the view that good health comes not just from good medical care, but also from things such as clean air and water, safe outdoor spaces for physical activity, safe worksites, healthy food and violence-free environments. It centers on four strategies: building healthy and safe community environments, expanding quality preventive services in both clinical and community settings, helping people make healthy choices and eliminating health disparities.
Health Day adds
The policy also focuses on other key ways to improve health:
  • Not smoking.
  • Preventing drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Eating healthfully.
  • Keeping physically active.
  • Living free of injury and violence.
  • Caring for reproductive and sexual health.
  • Promoting mental and emotional well-being.
In other words, use common sense. 

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