The OPM Inspector General-triggered controversy over the legality of the acting OPM Director’s service since she was nominated to be permanent director continues to simmer.  The Washington Post reports that Ms. Cobert is not the only acting agency leader in the soup. The FEHBlog took the time last night to read the 28 page D.C. Circuit opinion (SW General, Inc. v. NLRB) upon which the Inspector General relies.  At the end of the opinion, the Court “emphasized” the “narrowness of our decision.” “[W]e do not expect it to undermine a host of NLRB decisions.” A party must have standing to and must actually bring a lawsuit challenging the validity of the acting agency leader’s decision in Court based on the Federal Vacancy Reform Act in order to upend any particular action.  It appears to the FEHBlog to be a tempest in a teapot.  The OPM IG retires today.

OPM now has posted its FY 2017 Congressional Budget Justification.  Fun reading for the weekend.  The budget justification discusses OPM’s FEHBP claims data warehouse.  The FEHBlog is not suggesting that there is any connection but the Wall Street Journal reported the other day that

Employee wellness firms and insurers are working with companies to mine data about the prescription drugs workers use, how they shop and even whether they vote, to predict their individual health needs and recommend treatments.

Trying to stem rising health-care costs, some companies, including retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc., are paying firms like Castlight Healthcare Inc. to collect and crunch employee data to identify, for example, which workers are at risk for diabetes, and target them with personalized messages nudging them toward a doctor or services such as weight-loss programs.

Companies say the goal is to get employees to improve their own health as a way to cut corporate health-care bills.

Privacy advocates have raised concerns about such practices.

That’s a bridge too far in the FEHBlog’s view.

Here’s a link to an interesting Fierce Healthcare article about a Highmark subsidiary that helps hospitals cut costs on major medical device purchases. Bravo.

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