Weekend Update / Miscellany

  • OPM released its annual federal employee survey results for 2007. The FEHB Program was well received by about 2/3s of respondents.
  • HHS unveiled an upgrade to its Hospital Compare website.  According to the HHS press release,  “In addition to adding the new information from Medicare patients about their hospital stays [from the HCAHPS survey], CMS is adding information about the number of certain elective hospital procedures provided to those patients and what Medicare pays for those services.  For the first time, consumers have the three critical elements — quality information, patient satisfaction survey information, and pricing information for specific procedures — they need to make effective decisions about the quality and value of the health care available to them through local hospitals.  It’s important to know that Hospital Care reports quality results on hospital care to all of its patients and not just Medicare patients.
  • Business Week reports that Blue Cross of South Carolina is contracting with foreign hospitals such as the Bumrungrad Hospital in Thailand in order to serve American health plan members who engage in medical tourism.  Business Week further reports that “Last year, “65,000 Americans went to Bumrungrad for in-patient or outpatient treatment, up from just 10,000 in 2001. And of those 65,000, about half of them were U.S. residents who flew across the Pacific to Thailand for medical care. (The others were American expatriates living in Thailand or other parts of Southeast Asia.)”
  •  Govexec.com reported that “The Office of the Coordinator of Health Information Technology “plans to integrate the [National Health Information Network] with the health care databases that Google and Microsoft launched last year, on which individuals can store their health records.  [ONCHIT]  plans this year to expand its Nationwide Health Information Network to also include electronic health records stored in networks operated by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and the Indian Health Service, and integrated health care systems that span numerous communities.”