Quick Hits

The Washington Post reports that Congress sent a clean Homeland Security funding bill to the President today, thereby ending the FY 2015 appropriations process without any government shutdown.

The Hill included an op ed by a Republican Congressman Reid Ribble (R Wisc) and a Democratic Congressman Kurt Schrader (D Ore) supporting the President’s proposal to “modernize” the FEHBP with more plan types.  Neither member sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has oversight responsibility for the FEHBP.  Of note, Mr. Ribble is a member of the Republican Study Committee, and Mr. Schrader is a member of the Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee, among others.

The FEHBlog likes to link to hospital quality surveys. He has noticed that there’s not a lot of noticeable alignment among the surveys. CNN reports on a Health Affairs study concluding that the FEHBlog’s observation is correct. Here’s the Health Affairs squib on the study:

Matt Austin of Johns Hopkins Medicine and coauthors compared four well-known national hospital rating systems designed for use by US consumers: U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals; HealthGrades’ America’s 100 Best Hospitals; Leapfrog’s Hospital Safety Score; and Consumer Reports’ Health Safety Score. They analyzed ratings covering the time period from July 2012 to July 2013.
With each system using its own rating methods, having a different focus to its ratings, and stressing different measures of performance, the authors found that only 10 percent of the 844 hospitals rated as a high performer by one system were equally rated by any of the other rating systems. The complexity and opacity of the different rating systems, conclude the authors, “are likely to cause confusion instead of driving patients and purchasers to higher-quality, safer care.” They recommend that organizations sponsoring ratings assist patient interpretations of their ratings through the media and other information channels.

The FEHBlog prefers to ask nurses and allied health professionals for their opinion on hospital quality.

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