Midweek update

Of course, there’s a lot happening right now with Affordable Care Act implementation. Health insurance CEOs and the AHIP chief executive are meeting at the White House right now. But the FEHBlog’s focus is on the FEHBP, and OPM recently created a website assuring FEHB enrollees (except for Members of Congress and their official staffs) that there’s only an upside to the ACA changes. That website also provides information to Members of Congress and their official staffs about their 2014 coverage options. FEHBlog readers should know that the ACA is a mixed bag. The new requirements that benefit consumers and associated taxes and fees on health plans and providers create pressure to raise health plan premiums. There is no such thing as a free lunch. 

The Leapfrog Group came out with its Fall 2013 hospital safety scores yesterday.

 Key Findings:
    Of the 2,539 general hospitals issued a Hospital Safety Score, 813 earned an “A,” 661 earned a “B,” 893 earned a “C,” 150 earned a “D” and 22 earned an “F.”
    On average, there was no improvement in hospitals’ reported performance on the measures included in the score, with the exception of hospital adoption of computerized physician order entry (CPOE). The expansion in adoption of this lifesaving technology suggests that federal policy efforts to improve hospital technology have shown some success.
    While overall hospitals report little improvement in safety, some individual hospitals (3.5 percent) showed dramatic improvements of two or more grade levels.
    The states with the smallest percentage of “A” hospitals include New Hampshire, Arkansas, Nebraska and New Mexico. No hospitals in New Mexico or the District of Columbia received an “A” grade.{FEHBlog note Several well known hospitals like Georgetown, George Washington, Washington Hospital Center, and Children’s Hospital are based here in DC.]
    Maine claimed the number-one spot for the state with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals.
    Kaiser and Sentara [FEHBlog note — a northern and southeastern Virginia chain] were among the hospital systems that achieved straight “A” grades, meaning 100 percent of their hospitals received an “A.”

 The FEHBLog was chagrined to discover that Standard and Poors no longer posts its monthly healthcare cost indices. Instead Standard and Poors now offers  healthcare claims indices on pharmacy, medical and composite bases — both nationally and regionally. The latest monthly changes are of course all up.