Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Govexec.com reports on privacy advocate reactions to the OPM system of records notices for its FEHBP claims data warehouses published in the June 15, 2011, Federal Register.

The AMA News reports on an Archives of Internal Medicine article that is provocatively titled "The Principles of Conservative Prescribing." "The article makes several recommendations on how physicians can revamp their prescribing habits, including considering other treatment options, being more strategic about the prescriptions they write, being educated about and aware of possible adverse effects, and being cautious of prescribing new drugs." Here's another situation where doctors just need to change their thought processes in order to lower the cost curve and increase patient safety.

Bloomberg reports on another Archives on Internal Medicine study finding that "Physicians were willing to accept about 88 percent of patients who had private insurance in 2008, down from 93 percent in 2005, the study released today found." The FEHBlog appreciated AHIP's comments:
A reason that doctors may be accepting fewer patients is that some insurers have shrunk the network of doctors and hospitals they contract with to improve quality and value, said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans. 
“Health plans are selective in who they contract with, so that their members have access to doctors and hospitals that provide safe, high quality care,” Zirkelbach said in a telephone interview.
While insurers have increased their scrutiny of medical claims to try to keep down costs, doctors also must do a better job of filing requests for payment correctly and on time. Too few use electronic records, and many file claims late or inaccurately, he said. “It’s a two-way street,” Zirkelbach said. 
Narrow, high performance networks do bring down the cost curve and increase quality as explained in this receCalifornia Healthline article.

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