Congress is out of town this week of Columbus Day. Here’s a link to The Week in Congress’s account of last week’s actions. Federal News Radio reports that a Republican member and a Democratic member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a joint letter to the Office of Management and Budget recommending changes to the federal employee and contractor security clearance process, including a switch in responsibility for clearance record holding from OPM to an agency that is focused on national defense or intelligence.
Govexec reports that on Thursday October 15 the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release a report which will give us the final word on whether federal and postal annuitants will receive a cost of living adjustment for 2016. “The annual COLAs are based on the percentage increase (if any) in the average CPI-W for the third quarter of the current year over the average for the third quarter of the last year in which a COLA became effective.” Govexec expects that the decision will be no COLA for 2016. Federal employees will be receiving a 1.3% raise for 2016 plus increases in locality adjustments.
Last week, HHS issued its final roadmap of electronic medical record (“EMR”) interoperability. To recap, in return for “free” EMR software, health care providers must comply with meaningful use standards developed by HHS. The EMR developers relied on those standards which did not include interoperability among different systems. After issuing $32 billion in EMR payments, HHS has issued a final roadmap to EMR interoperability which it outlined as follows:
- 2015-2017: Send, receive, find and use priority data domains to improve health care quality and outcomes
- 2018-2020: Expand data sources and users in the interoperable health IT ecosystem to improve health and lower cost.
- 2021-2024: Achieve nationwide interoperability to enable a learning health system, with the person at the center of a system that can continuously improve care, public health, and science through real-time data access.