Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Senate Homeland Security and |Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I Conn) and Ranking Minority Member Susan Collins (R Maine) have reintroduced their bill to extend FEHB coverage to same sex domestic partners of federal employees.

The HHS Office for Civil Rights which is responsible for enforcing the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules announced earlier this month that it has begun a pilot program of auditing covered entity and business associate compliance with these rules. The HITECH Act which was part of the 2009 economic stimulus law called for these audits. The 20 audits in the pilot program will be conducted over the next 12 months.  KPMG, one of the large public accounting firms, has been contracted to conduct the audits for OCR.

The AMA News reports with some alarm that

Physician office visits by privately insured patients younger than 65 have fallen 17% in two years, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis released Nov. 15.
The research is the latest to suggest that the decline in how often patients see their doctors, fill prescriptions and stay in the hospital is due to factors beyond the recession and may last for a while.
Perhaps consumerism is working.

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