Friday, January 30, 2015


Following up on Wednesday's posts, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission released its final report yesterday afternoon. That report (around p. 104) proposes that TRICARE be replaced with a program similar to the FEHBP and administered by OPM.  However, in contrast to FEHB plans, this new program would be integrated with military treatment facilities.Congress, of course, would have to approve this recommendation by enacting a new law. So you can stand down from Red Alert.

Also All Clear ID has posted the slides from its National Data Privacy Day webinar here. The FEHBlog found them helpful.

Also this week, the GAO released a report concluding that "spending for an episode of care in the private sector varied across metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) for coronary stent placement, laparoscopic appendectomy, and total hip replacement, even after GAO adjusted for geographic differences in the cost of doing business and differences in enrollee demographics and health status." The report pins the differential on the inpatient hospital bills.

The Food and Drug Administration approved a generic proton pump inhibitor drug that can be substituted for the purple pill / blockbuster drug Nexium to treat GERD / heartburn. This should save health plans a ton of money once the six month generic exclusivity period expires for the first approved generic manufacturer which is an American subsidiary of Teva.

Gallup and Healthways released a discouraging report on obesity rates in the U.S. The obesity rate (Body Mass Index of 30 or more) is up 2 percentage points since 2008 to 27.7%.

Finally, earlier today, the Office of National Coordinator of Health IT ("ONC") released a draft report of a 10 year plan to achieve full inoperability of electronic medical records according to this iHealthBeat report. The federal government missed a golden opportunity by failing to include interoperability standards in the meaningful use requirements for government subsidized electronic medical records five years ago. ONC outlined the following actions to be achieved by 2017.
Establishing a coordinated governance framework and process for nationwide interoperability based on stakeholder consensus;
Improving technical standards and implementation guidance for sharing data;
Enhancing incentives for achieving interoperability and data sharing goals that are based on a common clinical data set; and
Clarifying privacy and security requirements needed to guarantee secure transmission, access and use of sensitive patient data  
The draft is open for public comment until April 3, 2015.

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