Tuesday update

Congress unfortunately has not made evident progress toward adopting a continuing resolution funding the federal government past this Friday.  The Hill’s latest report is here.  The FEHBlog still expects the logjam to break.

Govexec.com reports that OPM will “unveil next year’s premium rates in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program during a late-morning briefing Wednesday with reporters.”  The FEHBlog will post the news as soon as he sees it pop up.

Here’s a link to the live chat that the Washington Post had today on the controversial federal employee long term care insurance premium increase and a related Michelle Singletary column which concludes on the following note:

I get that you may be angry about the increases. But if you can’t save enough to self-insure and you wouldn’t qualify for Medicaid, choose an option that you can afford so that you at least have some level of coverage.

It’s hard to argue with that logic.

The GAO issued a report yesterday urging the Department of Health and Human Services to improve  the HIPAA Security Rule. That rule requires health plans, health care clearinghouses, most healthcare providers and their business associates to create and maintain administrative, physical and technical safeguards over electronic protected health information.

GAO is making five recommendations, including that HHS update its guidance for protecting electronic health information to address key security elements, improve technical assistance it provides to covered entities, follow up on corrective actions, and establish metrics for gauging the effectiveness of its audit program. HHS generally concurred with the recommendations and stated it would take actions to implement them.

Here’s a link to a Fierce Healthcare article on the GAO report.