Weekend update

Congress will again be in session on Capitol Hill this week. Here’s a link to the Week in Congress’s summary of last week’s actions on the Hill.

Modern Healthcare informs us about the seven big announcements made at the HIMSS health care technology conference last week. The FEHBlog only mentioned one of them while the conference was happening.

The FEHBlog often forgets that as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the FEHBP offers coverage to Indian tribal employees. Tribal employees represent a small percentage of total FEHBP enrollment which is around 4 million. The percentage just got smaller because according to the Caspar Wyoming  Star Tribune “The Northern Arapaho Tribe will end its enrollment in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program effective March 31, Northern Arapaho Business Council chairman Roy Brown advised the “tribal desk” of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management last week.”

Modern Healthcare also had an interesting article about health system efforts to stop providing low value care. For example,

When leaders at Johns Hopkins Health System [in Baltimore MD] set out to eliminate wasteful clinical practices across the organization, they started with blood transfusions.
Although the system had a number of areas it could have focused on first, unnecessary blood transfusions were on the industry’s radar back in 2012, when Johns Hopkins began its effort.  

Using a consistently applied and closely monitored set of procedures, Johns Hopkins was able to save $2 million a year and consume fewer bags of difficult-to-collect blood.
More importantly, the academic health system created a template for reducing waste across the organization, allowing its quality oversight managers to pick through other areas with a lot of potential for eliminating waste. 

Keep up the good fight.

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