Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weekend update

The FEHBlog hopes that everyone enjoyed the long holiday weekend. Of course, the President was inaugurated for a second term (twice) over the weekend, and both Houses of Congress return to work on Tuesday. The House of Representatives will be working on its debt limit strategy and the Senate will be working on the Hurricane Sandy relief package that the House passed before the break according to the Hill's Floor Watch blog.

The FEHBlog has noticed a few articles following up on OPM's initiatives contained in its March 2012 benefits and rates proposal call letter:

  • Encourage expectant mothers to hold off have a C-section before the 39th week of pregnancy. Kaiser Health News reports on the state of collective efforts by providers, insurers, and others to achieve this goal advocated by the March of Dimes.
  • Encourage a reduction in serious medical errors known as never events. The AMA News reports on a recent Joint Commission study finding that never events occur in hospital operating rooms nationwide about 80 times weekly, e.g., forgetting a sponge in a patient. To err is human, but ....
  • Allow plans to cover applied behavioral analysis therapy for children diagnosed with autism. The Wall Street Journal reports on a University of Connecticut longitudinal study of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (UConn is the FEHBlog's alma mater) confirming "a notion" that these children can recover. "'It's now apparent that some have a very good prognosis,'" said the NIMH's Dr. Insel. 'The problem is we don't know how to identify that group.'" That's essentially good news that over time should lead to improved diagnosis and treatment.  

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