Mid-week update

The  IRS today published a notice about inflation adjustments to various federal tax provisions for 2016. We learned that there will no change in the maximum annual contribution to health care flexible spending accounts which currently is $2550 (see page 14).  The employer sets the limit which cannot exceed $2550.

Healthcare Dive updates us on where we stand with the Medicare Part B premium issue now percolating on Capitol Hill.  Nothing definitive yet.

The Harvard Business Review offers hospitals advice on how to reduce the number of never events / preventable errors.  The Mayo Clinic takes a full look at the quality of care in addition to investigating identified problems

To look for opportunities to improve care, we examine all aspects of care rendered for every patient who dies in our facility — even those whose death was anticipated due to grave illness. We look for trends in opportunities in order to prioritize improvement work across our hospitals. * * * When we started this mortality-review process, we found care issues or opportunities for improvement approximately 23% of the time. More recently, that figure has declined to around 13% of the time. This is a reliable sign of progress in patient safety.

This Health Day article discusses the “time honored” tradition of the annual physical.

Some [doctors] want the once-a-year physical abandoned, based on a growing body of research that these exams don’t reduce your overall risk of disease or death.  But yearly checkups help build the relationship between doctor and patient, leaving both better prepared when illness does strike, other doctors respond.

The FEHBlog thinks that the “aye” side of the argument has the better side of the argument as the patient ages.  The article notes that the nay sides prefers seeing the patient every two to three years and relying on the electronic medical record to nudge the patient toward necessary preventive care in the outyears.