Mid-week update

The Senate passed the House of Representatives version of the Medicare Part B doc fix bill last night. The President had agreed to sign the House version. This means that the sustainable rate of growth formula for reimbursing doctors under Medicare Part B has been replaced by a phased in approach that is intended to do away with fee for service medicine in Medicare in 2019. Doctors will get a 0.5% pay raise from Medicare Part B beginning on July 1.  Wealthier Medicare beneficiaries will pay higher premiums beginning in 2018. Full / necessary details are in this Kaiser Health News piece.

It took Congress over 15 years to fix this problem. Congratulations to the House Speaker and Minority Leader for their leadership rolls. This stabilizing law is important to the FEHBP because there is a large cadre of Medicare Part B annuitants in the FEHBP and the FEHBPs nationwide plans use the Part B formula to pay doctors for services render to annuitants who don’t elect Part B (5 U.S.C. Sec. 8904(b)).

The Office of National Coordinator for Health IT (the health IT czar) issued an update privacy and security guide for healthcare providers.  The guide is over 60 pages long which is bound to discourage small practices. As far as the FEHBlog can tell, the guide does not include the best advice which is to apply for and purchase cyber-liability coverage. The insurer’s underwriting rules will help you get in shape.  IHealthBeat reports on a recent study illustrating the fact that this problem will be with us for a while at least.

Health Data Management reports on the keynote address by Humana’s CEO Bruce Broussard to the big HIMSS health care technology conference this week.

Here’s a link to a fascinating and lengthy Strategy and Business interview with Aetna’s CEO Mark Bertolini about Mr. Bertolini’s preventive disruption approach to his business.