Friday, January 27, 2012


The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Wellpoint and Aetna are offering more money to primary care doctors in their provider networks who are willing to engage in more care coordination efforts.  "The 'scale is so much bolder than things we've seen,' said Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, a Washington nonprofit group. "'This isn't an experiment.'" Sounds like a win-win.

Everytime the FEHBlog looks at the HHS website, it seems like the Administration is throwing more and more Affordable Care Act and HITECH Act dollars at the medical community. It's gratifying to see these targeted actions by insurers.

On the preventive care front, USA Today reports that the Centers for Disease Control is concerned that the number of Americans being screened for breast, cervical, and colon cancer continued to fall below national targets in 2010. It will be interesting to see if the percentages trend up because the Affordable Care Act makes the testing "free." The AMA and AARP has released a new Medicare Preventive Services Brochure.

Aetna announced a new initiative to support dentists in adopting the U.S. Public Health Service's tobacco cessation guidlines. What a good idea!

Health Data Management reports on the American Medical Association's quixotic campaign to stop implementation of the ICD-10 code sets next year. CMIO tells us that the AMA's Executive has written to the House Speaker John Boehner about the issue. The AMA complains that it's an unfunded mandate. Sure the code set implementation will be disruptive to doctors but insurers have been implementing the new code sets for a couple of years due to a government mandate. The only government support is HHS allowed a portion of the ICD-10 conversion costs to be treated as benefit expenses for purposes of the new federal minimum loss ration. Where was the AMA in 2009 when it could have stopped the train before it left the station?

Finally Modern Healthcare reports that the Federal Trade Commission has sue to block long term care pharmacy Omnicare's bid to buy competitor Pharmerica Corp. That can't be encouraging news for Express Scripts and Medco.

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