Weekend Update

The FEHBlog trusts that everyone has been enjoying the holiday weekend. Congress returns to Capitol Hill tomorrow and it’s another week, another OPM data breach hearing. One Tuesday July 8 at 2 pm, the Subcommittees on Research and Technology and on Oversight of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will hold a hearing titled “Is the OPM Data Breach the Tip of the Iceberg?” Let’s hope not. 

Federal News Radio reports that OPM is offering federal agencies guidance on their employee health and wellness programs. Wouldn’t it be helpful and perhaps even lower the cost curve a little if OPM coordinated the health and wellness programs that federal agencies and FEHB plans offer?

Last week, CMS proposed changes to the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System policy changes, quality provisions, and payment rates for the next calendar year.  Modern Healthcare reports that

For 2016, the agency proposes a 0.2% cut to outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) rates.  While those changes might seem small, approximately 3,800 hospitals and 60 community mental health centers are paid under the OPPS and the decrease means they’ll collectively receive an estimated $43 million less than they got in 2015.
On the flip side, ambulatory surgical centers will get a modest 1.1% bump.
That will result in the 5,300 ASCs currently being reimbursed by Medicare getting an estimated $186 million more than what they got this year.  Both proposals were immediately criticized by provider trade groups.