The FEHBlog is up in Manhattan with Mrs. FEHBlog watching their grandson for the weekend. The FEHBlog has found something more enjoyable than this blog!

There are 10 days left in the Federal Benefits Open Season.

The Washington Post reports that the CVS / Aetna merger agreement may be inked on Monday.  Bloomberg offers some interesting observations on financial aspects of the anticipated merger, which of course must clear government anti-trust scrutiny. Also the Chicago Tribune reports that Express Scripts CEO Tim Wentworth noted at a Forbes conference yesterday that while his company would be open to health insurer merger or partnering with Amazon, his company is not actively pursuing such a deal.

Meanwhile at the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Technology conference, the National Coordinator discussed next steps in achieving interoperability in healthcare technology according to the MedPage Today report.. Of course, the government missed the boat by approving free distribution of non-interoperable electronic medical records to providers earlier this decade to the tune of over $30 billion. But better late than never.

Fierce Healthcare reports on HHS Secretary nominee Alex Azar’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee earlier this week. The focus of the hearing was on controlling prescription drug costs.

Yesterday CMS cancelled the Obama Administrations mandatory hip fracture and cardiac bundled payment models created for Medicare patients.  The FEHBlog is not a fan of such mandatory programs.  The shift to value based reimbursement appears to remain on track.  Fierce Healthcare also reports on a Humana study concerning provider efforts to adapt to valued based reimbursement.

Finally, researchers at UConn, the FEHBlog’s alma mater, are reporting “new evidence suggest[ing] the fatty molecules [or lipids that clog arteries] might come not only from what you eat, but from the bacteria in your mouth. The research may explain why gum disease is associated with heart trouble.” So pay attention to your dental care.