Weekend Update

Happy Mothers’ Day! Congress is in session this week. The Hill’s Floor Action blog reports that the House will take another shot at repealing the Affordable Care Act.  AHIP reports that the House Small Business Committee held a hearing last Thursday to discuss the health insurer fee that takes effect in 2014. AHIP and the National Foundation of Independent Business both want this tax repealed.  NARFE has issued a membership action alert “Defend the FEHBP” in response to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s bill to boot all federal employees out of the FEHBP (HR 1780).

Speaking of the ACA, last week, the Labor Department issued Technical Release No. 2013-02 and a bunch of new notices that employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act a/k/a most employers, including the U.S. government and the Postal Service will be required to provide to current employees no later than October 1, 2013 — the start date for ACA’s health insurance exchanges a/k/a marketplaces — and to new employees within 14 days after hire. There is one form for employees who are covered under the employer’s health plan and another form for employees who aren’t. The forms seek to explain the relationship between employer sponsored coverage and exchange coverage.  These forms are required by the law. The Labor Department also issued a new model COBRA continuation of coverage notice which alerts the reader to the fact that more affordable continuation coverage may be available on the exchange/marketplace (as compared to COBRA).  Presumably OPM will be updating its temporary continuation of coverage notice for the same purpose (TCC is the FEHBP analog to COBRA).

The Leapfrog Group posted its latest patient safety ratings for 2500 U.S. hospitals late last week.

Key Findings
• Of the 2,514 general hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 780 earned an “A,” 638 earned a “B,” 932 earned a “C,” 148 earned a “D” and 16 earned an “F.”
• A total of 1.9 percent of hospitals showed dramatic change in their Hospital Safety Score, moving two or more grade levels up or down. Approximately 73.9 percent of hospitals maintained the same Score from November 2012.
• The states with the smallest percentage of “A” hospitals include Nevada, Kansas, Oregon, West Virginia and New Mexico, which holds the lowest percentage at 6.7 percent.
• The largest change in an individual safety measure was the Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) measure, which rose from 29 to 34. CPOE technology reduces the number of errors related to handwriting or transcription and provides error checking for incorrect doses and tests.
• A range of hospitals earned “A’s,” with no one class of hospitals (i.e., teaching hospitals, public hospitals, etc.) dominating among those showing the highest safety Scores. Hospitals earning an “A” include academic medical centers Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Mayo Clinic. Many rural hospitals earned an “A,” including Geisinger Medical Center and Blessing Hospital.
• Hospitals with myriad national accolades, such as Duke University Hospital, earned an “A.”
• “A” Scores were also earned by hospitals serving highly vulnerable, impoverished and/or health-challenged populations, such as Detroit Receiving Hospital.