Weekend Update / Miscellany

  • The Federal Times featured an article on high deductible FEHB plans that are associated by law with health savings account. Approximately 9,000 federal and postal employees out of 2 million have enrolled in these plans since their introduction in 2005.
  • OPM posted on its website its Fiscal Year 2007 Performance and Accountability Report. According to the agency, “The Performance and Accountability Reports provide detailed information on our audited financial statements and performance results achieved. This Report is submitted to the President, Congress, and members of the public as a measure of how well we are managing programs and finances. Reports are submitted for Fiscal Year time periods.”
  • Congress is now in a two week Thanksgiving recess, and it has three weeks of work planned for December. There was no significant progress made on appropriations bills or SCHIP reauthorization last week. The Kaiser Daily Health Report notes that CongressDaily is reporting that SCHIP reauthorization compromise is dead at least for this year.
  • Speaking of Congress, the Medill Report from Northwestern University published an online report about two House members who have had difficulty with their FEHB plans. I have a friend whose daughter attends Medill. She tells me that a single typographical error can lead to a failing grade. This Medill article has a doozy.
  • HHS announced voluntary e-prescribing standards for doctors last week. According to Healthcare IT News, CMS Administrator Kerry Weems said that Congress, not HHS, can create a Medicare mandate on doctors to use e-prescribing.
  • CMS announced that “aggressive oversight efforts have resulted in a further reduction of the number of improper Medicare claims payments, which declined from 14.2 percent in 1996, to 4.4 percent in 2006, to 3.9 percent in 2007.”
  • HHS Secretary Leavitt said that he expects to recognize the first set of interoperability standards supporting health information exchange this year. These standards will be incorporated into the federal procurement process and will become part of future certification criteria. Read more at the Secretary’s blog.
  • Reports on the November 13 American Health Information Community meeting can be found here, here and here.