Weekend update

Tomorrow is the last day of August. This means that public schools open here tomorrow in Montgomery County, MD, that Congress will be back in town next week, and that the Supreme Court and the ICD-10 will make their appearance in about 30 days.  Ihealthbeat reports that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are showing all green lights for ICD-10 implementation. Time will tell.

On Friday, according to Federal News Radio, the White House announced that federal employees will receive a 1% across the board wage increase on January 1, 2016, plus a .3% locality pay increase for eligible employees.

Forbes reports that exchange plans and employer sponsored plans are eyeing narrow provider networks as a cost saving measure. This statement from the article caught the FEHBlog’s eye — [H]ealth benefits’ analysts say it’s not necessarily a bad thing if health plans and employers cull from their lists of doctors and hospitals those that aren’t achieving whatever quality metrics have been established.”  OPM is putting heavy pressure on FEHB plans to ensure that their providers meet these NCQA quality metrics. That is easier said than done because the current lack of interoperable electronic medical records vastly complicates the data collection process.  There’s no doubt that narrowing the network and limiting out of network coverage can help with this data collection problem.  It’s another example of the proverb be careful what you wish for.  

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