Midweek Update

Federal News Radio reports that the House is poised to pass tomorrow a continuing resolution that would fund the Federal Government at current levels from October 1, 2014, through December 11, 2014. This would allow the lame duck session of Congress to enact an omnibus appropriations bill following the early November midterm elections.

The FEHBlog received good news from OPM yesterday that OPM Senior Health Actuary Ron Gresch will be receiving the Robert J. Myers Public Service Award from the American Academy of Actuaries later this year. Ron deserves a lot of credit for the FEHBP’s continuing success.

On the technology front, Clinical Innovation and Technology reports on a Mayo Clinic survey finding that a majority of patients are receptive to video visits with their doctors / telehealth. However, U,S. News and World Report notes a survey finding that doctors are concerned about the time lost adding information to the electronic health record systems that the federal government has funded to the tune of $24 billion to date. Throwing money at a problem generally is an ineffective solution. Hopefully these kinks (if they are kinks) will work themselves out over time. .

MedCity News reports that the Food and Drug Administration has issued a Purple Book on bio-similar drugs to complement its Orange Book on small molecule generic drugs. These books are “the go-to list for physicians, regulatory agents and generics makers, as [each] is a list of all FDA-approved drugs. It indicates which med can be interchanged for which – and lists out important patent exclusivity information.”  Progress.  On a related note, take a gander at this Drug Channels post analyzing last week’s CMS Actuary Report on U.S. Healthcare Expenditures from a prescription drug angle.