Tuesday’s Tidbits

Yesterday, according to the Washington Post, OPM’s embattled Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour retired from the federal government rather than serve as the star witness before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s third OPM data breach hearing. The Committee cancelled the hearing which had been scheduled for tomorrow morning. “No timeline was announced for Seymour’s replacement.”

It is gratifying to the FEHBlog that the Federal Times agrees with his interpretation of the federal court ruling upon which the now retired OPM Inspector General challenged the validity of the OPM acting director’s actions since she was nominated to be permanent director last November 10. Tempest in a teapot.

Last week the FEHBlog noted that AHIP and CMS had reached consensus on quality measures to be applied to health care providers. Fierce Health Payer offers an interesting interview with Andrew Baskin, M.D., Aetna’s national medical director for quality performance, who was part of this important collaboration. Dr. Baskin credits an innovative approach to achieving consensus and a new emphasis on value based payments for this achievement. Bravo.

Here are a couple of prescription cost tidbits:

  • CVS Health today announced that “prescription drug trend, a measure of growth in prescription spending, for CVS Health pharmacy benefit management (PBM) clients dropped dramatically to 5 percent in 2015 from a high of 11.8 percent in 2014.”
  • The Wall Street Journal interviewed Merck’s CEO Kenneth Frazier about “big Pharma’s delicate dance on drug pricing.”   
Finally, here are a couple of wellness tidbits from Employee Benefit News
  • An article on how to structure health plan initiatives to reduce tobacco use — particularly relevant as OPM continues to push for authority to adjust premiums based on enrollee lack of cooperation with wellness initiatives such as tobacco cessation programs. 
  • An article on how to structure diet counselling programs mandated by the U.S. Preventive Service Task force / the Affordable Care Act for obese and overweight people with cardiovascular risk factors. 

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