Happy Bastille Day!

Hey, France did help us win the Revolutionary War!

It has been a busy week.

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced proposed calendar year 2018 payment policies for outpatient hospital / ambulatory surgical care and physician services under Medicare. The CMS administrator, Seema Verma, notes in these announcements that CMS is looking to relieve regulatory burden on providers and help improve the provider / patient relationship among other goals.

Speaking of relieving regulatory burden, Wednesday was the comment deadline on CMS’s request for public comment on “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act and Improving Healthcare Choices to Empower Patients.”  Here a links to a potpourri of interesting comments — AHIP, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Benefits Council, NCQA, United Health Group, and CVS Health Care.

Healthcare Dive reports on a JAMA study finding that traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans pay doctors just about the same amount. Private sector plans, including FEHB plans, pay more, which illustrates cost shifting from Medicare to everyone else (except Medicaid which also cost shifts).  If we went with a Medicare for All program, there would be no place left to shift costs. The FEHBlog does not understand why providers can’t seem to comprehend this fact.

Health Data Management tells us that the Trump Administration wants to improve the utility and interoperability of electronic medical records. Good luck with that

Healthcare Dive reports on “the largest healthcare fraud takedown in history.  The Boston Globe’s STAT reports  that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is implementing a crack down on opioid related fraud specifically.

CBS reports that a  form of gene therapy treatment known as CAR-T is working its way through the FDA approval process. This particular treatment is aimed at advanced leukemia in children and young adults.

The therapy could be the first of a wave of treatments custom-made to target a patient’s cancer. Called CAR-T, it involves removing immune cells from a patients’ blood, reprogramming them to create an army of cells to recognize and destroy cancer and injecting them back into the patient.

The final stage in the new drug approval process should be reached later this year. Yippee.