Tuesday’s Tidbits

The Federal Times reports that OPM Director Dr. Jeff Pon

has called on agency heads to ensure that anyone appointed to the Chief Human Capital Officers Council from their agency should be a “very senior-level” person that “serves as an integral part of the leadership team.”

With major civil service reforms, information technology modernization efforts and changes to various federal benefit programs under consideration, I need the advice and assistance of the most senior management officials in planning and implementing human capital initiatives,” Pon wrote in a April 23, 2018, memo.

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced new steps in implementing HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s value driven agenda. In that regards, yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“HHS”) disclosed public suggestions to reshape the Medicare Innovation Center which the Affordable Care Act funded with $10 billion.

The [public] responses focused on a number of areas that are critical to enhancing quality of care for beneficiaries and decreasing unnecessary cost, such as increased physician accountability for patient outcomes, improved patient choice and transparency, realigned incentives for the benefit of the patient, and a focus on chronically ill patients. In addition to the themes that emerged around the RFI’s guiding principles and eight model focus areas, the comments received in response to the RFI also reflected broad support for reducing burdensome requirements and unnecessary regulations.

The FEHBlog, of course, is on board with those objectives across the health care industry. Today, CMS released a proposed rule on the Medicare acute care and long term care hospital inpatient prospective payment systems for the next federal fiscal year which begins October 1, 2018.  Here’s a link to the fact sheet on the proposed changes. CMS leads with the policy changes but here’s the dollar impact:

The proposed increase in operating payment rates for general acute care hospitals paid under the IPPS that successfully participate in the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program and are meaningful electronic health record (EHR) users is approximately 1.75 percent. This reflects the projected hospital market basket update of 2.8 percent reduced by a 0.8 percentage point productivity adjustment. This also reflects a proposed +0.5 percentage point adjustment required by legislation, and the -0.75 percentage point adjustment to the update required by the Affordable Care Act. 

CMS projects that the rate increase, together with other proposed changes to IPPS payment policies, will increase IPPS operating payments by approximately 2.1 percent, and that proposed changes in uncompensated care payments, capital payments, and the changes to the low-volume hospital payments will increase IPPS payments by an additional 1.3 percent for a total increase in IPPS payments of 3.4 percent.

Health Affair’s new issue focuses on how health care providers can consider social determinants of health when caring for their patients.

A host of new payment arrangements—from accountable care organizations to value-based purchasing to pay-for-performance initiatives—are encouraging health care providers to broaden their traditional focus on health care services and consider the social determinants of health that are impacting their patients. A recent Deloitte survey found that 80 percent of hospitals are committed to addressing patients’ social needs as part of their clinical care.  The potential rewards from a more balanced, integrated approach are vast. 

Good luck with that effort.