Happy New Federal Fiscal Year

Welcome to federal fiscal year 2015 which began today, the first anniversary of the partial government shutdown and the healthcare.gov implosion. Fedweek joins the FEHBlog in asking where is OPM’s 2015 FEHBP premiums announcement.

Yesterday HHS posted on the internet pharmaceutical payments to doctors and teaching hospitals. Having read a Wall Street Journal article earlier this week that pharmaceutical manufacturers are shifting their marketing attention from doctors to hospital administrators, the FEHBlog assumed that the open payments information may be a date late and a dollar short. Boy was the FEHBlog wrong. As noted in the CMS press release and the Wall Street Journal today,

Drug and medical-device companies paid at least $3.5 billion to U.S. physicians and teaching hospitals during the final five months of last year

That is a staggeringly large number which suggests that something is wrong in the state of Denmark.

“The financial relationships between doctors and drug companies and medical-device companies are a source of conflicts of interest,” said Allan Coukell, director of the Pew Prescription Project, which has supported the Sunshine Act. “They have the potential to influence the care that patients get and so they’re a matter of interest both to individual consumers and to policy makers.”

The FEHBlog credits Sen. Chuck Grassley (R Iowa) for pushing this initiative.  

The FEHBlog wishes to call readers attention to this Becker Hospital Review article suggesting ways that accountable care organizations can coordinate care by keeping patients in network. Health plans may be able to use these tips.