Tuesday’s Tidbits

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released today its first rural health care strategy. The strategy focuses on the following objectives:

  • Apply a rural lens to CMS programs and policies
  • Improve access to care through provider engagement and support
  • Advance telehealth and telemedicine
  • Empower patients in rural communities to make decisions about their healthcare, and
  • Leverage partnerships to achieve the goals of the CMS Rural Health Strategy.

Speaking of telehealth, the Society for Human Resource Management offers a helpful article for employers and health plans on how to increase utilization of that service.

CVS Health and Cigna both reported first quarter 2018 financial results. In the context of those presentation, CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo, according to Forbes, said that its merger with Aetna is expected to close later this year, and Cigna CEO David Cordani, according to Beckers Hospital Review, said his company’s merger with Cigna is on the same track to close.

Employee Benefits News offers a pharmacist’s business perspective on these two mergers here.

Finally Fierce Healthcare reports that

Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health announced Sunday it plans to make [genetic] testing a “routine” part of preventative healthcare at its facilities. [Geisinger is an early if not the first adopter of this approach.] The idea is to make DNA sequencing part of its standard screening tests along the lines of the mammograms, colonoscopies and cholesterol checks that are regularly performed on patients to detect disease earlier. Officials said Geisinger patients will be able to work with their family physician to modify their lifestyle and minimize risks that may be revealed, they said.

Bravo, Geisinger which by the way currently offers FEHB coverage.