Weekend Update / Miscellany

  • Last week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee organized its subcommittees. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D Mass) will chair the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and District of Columbia subcommittee which is responsible for overseeing the FEHB Program. Rep. Lynch replaces Rep. Danny Davis (D Ill.) who remains on the subcommittee but gave up the chair in order to sit on the Appropriations Committee. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R UT) will be the ranking minority member of the Federal Workforce subcommittee.  As previously noted, Rep. Edolphus Townes (D NY) is the full Committee chair and Rep. Darrell Issa (R. Calif.) is the full Committee’s ranking minority member.
  • President Obama has not yet appointed a new HHS Secretary in the wake of Tom Daschle’s withdrawal. I thought that Howard Dean would be the likely appointee but I was not aware that Gov. Dean does not get along with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel. According to Modern Healthcare and AP reports, the most likely appointee is Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius
  • Joe Davidson, the Washington Post’s Federal Diary columnist, reported on an FEHBP claim dispute last Friday.  The dispute was resolved in the member’s favor.
  • AIS Health Business Daily reported on a dispute between the Tufts University Medical Center and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Tufts was upset because BCBSMA was paying higher fees to Partners Healthcare, the parent of Mass General and Brigham and Womens Hospitals. AIS reports that Tufts and BCBSMA have reached a settlement of their dispute. 
  • Finally Healthcare IT News reported last week that Google Health, IBM, and the Continua Health Alliance announced the development of “new IBM software that will enable personal medical devices used for patient monitoring, screening and routine evaluation to automatically stream data results into a patient’s Google Health Account or other personal health record (PHR). This breakthrough extends the value of PHRs to consumers and also helps to ensure that such records are current and accurate at all times. Once stored in a PHR, the data can also be shared with physicians and other members of the extended care network.”