Happy Cinco de Mayo

For weekend reading —

  • The Congressional Research Service’s May 4 report on the American Health Care Act. The report is filled with easy to comprehend tables and timelines. No mention of our beloved FEHBP. Thanks CRS.
  • An HHS task force on healthcare cybersecurity issued its report this week. The report specifies six imperatives. 
The FEHBlog has been following Anthem’s decision to put its prescription benefit management contract (“PBM”) out to bid for 2020. Forbes notes that while United Healthcare continues to build its own Optum Rx PBM, “Aetna is looking at potentially closer ties to CVS Health CVS -0.63% and its pharmacy benefit management business amid concerns about transparency and the future of the PBM industry.” Aetna’s contract with CVS is renewable in 2019. 
mHealth Intelligence reports that slightly over 70% of physicians use telemedicine. 

The HIMSS analytics research, presented in two separate studies that analyzed inpatient and outpatient telemedicine, highlighted a jump in growth of usage over a three-year period. “Adoption of telemedicine solutions or services has surged since this study was first conducted in 2014 from roughly 54 percent in 2014 to 71 percent in 2017,” said the reports. “After consistently growing 3.5 percent annually, based on study results adoption has increased roughly 9 percent since 2016.”

It looks like we are now past the tipping point for telemedicine.

Finally, Reuters tells us about a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control study on American death rates over the period 1999 to 2015.  

“The disparity in deaths between the white and black populations is closing. Even so, critical disparities remain,” Leandris Liburd, associate director of CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, said in a conference call.

 The death rate, which is usually calculated as deaths per 1,000 people per year, fell 25 percent for African-Americans during the 17-year period, mostly for those aged 65 and older, the CDC said.

In 2014, life expectancy was 75.6 years for blacks and 79 years for whites, which was an increase since 2000 of 3.8 years for blacks and 1.7 years for whites, the CDC said.
However, the study also said “blacks have the highest death rate and shorter survival rate for all cancers combined compared with whites in the United States.”

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