TGIF

We are a week away now from the end of the current federal fiscal year.  Govexec.com reports that it’s likely that before the deadline passes, Congress will pass a continuing resolution funding the federal government’s operations through December 9.  The Wall Street Journal provides an amusing report on the history of the federal fiscal year here.

Modern Healthcare reports based on a recent study that “rapid adoption of bundled payments remains an act of faith.”  Bundled payments for orthopedic surgery was the only category of care that appeared to reduce costs and improve quality according to the study. Meanwhile according to another Modern Healthcare article, a survey reveals that changing reimbursement methods, among other factors, is causing low morale among doctors.

HHS’s Office for Civil Rights displayed another HIPAA scalp today. The covered entity failed to update its business associate agreements for the changes wrought by the 2009 amendments to HIPAA.

Health Day reports about the growing costs of treating falls suffered by elderly Americans —  $31 billion annually for Medicare. As the FEHBP’s demographics skew older, this should be a concern for FEHB plans too.

Finally, Harvard Medical School offers a helpful article on the proper consumer use of telemedicine which is a growing option in the FEHBP. It’s important for plans to educate their members on this topic. For example, the FEHBlog has noticed that his health coverage provider, Carefirst, offers such guidance on its website.

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