Midweek update

The Hill reports on efforts to get an omnibus appropriations bill done so Congress can get back on the campaign trail. “Senate Republicans are defending 24 seats, and McConnell is in great
danger of being demoted to minority leader in the next Congress. That
has created an incentive to finish work on a funding bill quickly so
that vulnerable senators can return to their home states to campaign.”  The Senate is considering a bill that would fund the government until December 9 while some House members want to fund the government through March in order to avoid a lame duck session.  The House Speaker is meeting with his caucus on Friday.

Federal News Radio and FCW, among others, report on a flurry of reports on the OPM data breach that came out this week. The majority staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a detailed report. The executive summary in particular is worth reading.  The minority staff and the OPM director responded to the majority staff report.

On the business consolidation front —

  •     Modern Healthcare reports on an Avalere Health study finding that 

In 2012, about one in seven physician practices were owned by a hospital. In mid-2015, one in four medical practices, or 67,000 practices, were owned by hospitals. 

The report also found that in the same three-year period, physicians employed by hospitals increased by 50%. In 2015, about 140,000 physicians were employed by hospitals or systems, a rise from the 95,000 physicians who were employed by hospitals in 2012. Overall, about 38% of physicians in the U.S. are employed by a hospital or system, according to the report. 

  • Drug Channels analyzes a new business arrangement between the Walgreens Pharmacy chain and Prime Therapeutics, a prescription benefit manager owned by 14 non-profit Blue Cross licensees.