TGIF

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released its estimates of the costs/savings created by the President’s FY 2016 budget proposal.  The CBO projections on OPM’s FY 2016 FEHBP initiatives are found on lines 82 through 85 of this attachment.

On Wednesday, the FEHBlog noted a Medscape story on a study finding that fewer readmissions occur when discharged patients visit their doctor soon after leaving the hospital. Better patient support should reduce readmissions. The FEHBlog is returning to this post because the study focused on patients who had a return visit in seven days following discharge. The FEHBlog does not believe that there is any magic in the seven day period. The patient or the doctor may not be able to schedule the appointment within seven days. The point is prompt follow-up care, the likelihood of which is improved by a strong personal support group, e.g., family members and friends, around the patient. Hopefully that is the norm in the FEHBP.

The FEHBlog had been surprised that there was no uproar about inability to access health insurance after the ACA’s first open season ended last Spring. The uproar has come this year as consumer groups and patient advocates are lobbying to treat pregnancy as a qualifying life event entitling a woman to enroll for ACA coverage outside an Open Season, according to this Yahoo Health article. Odds are in the FEHBlog’s view that this effort will be successful. But where do you draw the line. If an unexpected pregnancy is a QLE, then why isn’t an unexpected illness or car accident also a QLE?

Health Day has a report on a new American Medical Association / CBC initiative to engage in more diabetes 2 testing (the A1c test) and patient education because there are a lot of pre-diabetic people out there. This is a great idea.   

Bloomberg Business reports that Altarum Institute has concluded that U.S. healthcare spending jumped 5% in 2014 following five years of average 3.9% growth due to an mproving economy, millions of newly insured folks and skyrocketing prescription drug costs. Get a load of this observation by the Altarum health care director Charles Roehrig:

While Roehrig finds little evidence that recent reforms changed the rate of growth, he said that over decades, the amount by which increases in health spending have exceeded GDP growth has narrowed. “There’s more evidence now that we’ve been on a long-term steady decline in the excess growth rate,” he said. The good news is that if the trend holds, U.S. health spending will eventually stabilize. The bad news, according to Roehrig’s analysis, is that it wouldn’t happen until health-care accounts for about 25 percent of the American economy.

Finally, Federal News Radio reports on OPM’s thoughtful approach to information security called “orchestration.”  

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