Happy Labor Day!

Congress returns to Washington tomorrow.  This Washington Post headline sums it up — “Iran, budget, highways and national debt on tap for Congress.”

Yesterday the Washington Post wrote about government funded efforts to improve patient adherence to taking prescription drugs, which is a public health problem.  One trial that appears to be working involves hospital distribution of “internet of things” pill bottles that issue visual and audible warnings and send messages to loved ones about non-adherence. The patients who timely take the medicine receive nominal cash rewards which is analogized to winning the lottery.

Modern Healthcare reports on a new CMS effort to boost value based coverage in the Medicare Advantage program  “In the Medicare Advantage experiment, [value based] plans can [for example] lower cost-sharing for members who participate in disease-management programs, or provide full coverage for “supplemental benefits,” such as nonemergency transportation to primary-care visits or tobacco-cessation programs.” The trial will begin in 2017 and will last five years.  Medicare Advantage plans in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee can participate.