HHS Secretary Leavitt informed the National Governors Association on August 6 that the President soon would be signing an executive order on health information technology. I expected that the order would be signed in September but President Bush is not taking a vacation this August. He signed the order today in Minneapolis, and it directly impacts the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, as well as Medicare, TRICARE, and the Indian Health Service, and the Veterans Affairs Department health care programs. (Medicaid is not subject to the EO).
According to the White House fact sheet,
This Executive Order Directs Federal Agencies That Administer Or Sponsor Federal Health Insurance Programs To: 1. Increase Transparency In Pricing. The Executive Order directs Federal agencies to share with beneficiaries information about prices paid to health care providers for procedures. 2. Increase Transparency In Quality. The Executive Order directs Federal agencies to share with beneficiaries information on the quality of services provided by doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. 3. Encourage Adoption Of Health Information Technology (IT) Standards. The Executive Order directs Federal agencies to use improved health IT systems to facilitate the rapid exchange of health information. 4. Provide Options That Promote Quality And Efficiency In Health Care. The Executive Order directs Federal agencies to develop and identify approaches that facilitate high quality and efficient care.
OPM has explained that the Executive Order is a continuation of the long term process that began with this year’s call letter for 2007 FEHB Program benefit and rate proposals.