Thursday Notes

Federal News Radio and others are reporting that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning from her position tomorrow and President Obama plans to appoint OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to fill the vacancy. According to that article, 

In nominating the 48-year-old Burwell, Obama is tapping a Washington veteran with a low-profile and the respect of some Republicans on Capitol Hill. Though she only joined the Obama administration last year, Burwell held several White House and Treasury posts during President Bill Clinton’s administration. Between her stints in the executive branch, Burwell served as president of Wal-Mart’s charitable arm and head of the global development program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Speaking of HHS, Health Data Management reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which administers and enforces the HIPAA electronic transactions and code sets,  has been “eerily silent” about the Congressionally mandate delay in implementing the ICD-10 code set. WEDI, which is a statutorily designated adviser to HHS on HIPAA, is convening an emergency industry summit to discuss the delay for April 29 in Arlington, VA.

Finally, CVS Caremark has issued its annual Insights report on prescription drug spending in the U.S.

In 2013, prescription drug trend grew 3.8 percent compared to nearly flat growth (0.1 percent) in 2012. This growth was driven by significant price inflation for traditional brand drugs, specialty drugs and generics as well as a significant increase in utilization as members filled more prescriptions in the slowly improving economy. 

Cost curve up.  

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