The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to consider the cert petition in the Texas v. United States case (Nos. 19-840, 19-841) at today’s conference of the justices. That case of course concerns the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. If the Court decides to accept cert / review the lower court decision in a prominent case like this, the order frequently is announced on the same day. The Supreme Court, however, released no orders today. The Court is scheduled to issue orders at 9:30 am. The FEHBlog will be keeping watch.

The FEHBlog drove up to Long Island today to visit with family. On the way, he pondered OPM’s performance measure for its FEHB operations — “Percent of FEHB enrollees in quality affordable plans.” The FY 2017 result was 74.2% and the FY 2018 result was 70.9%. The FY 2020 result will be announced next month. Why the drop from one year to the next? Why doesn’t OPM explain how quality and affordability are measured for this purpose? By the way OPM’s target was 72% for FY 2020 and is 73% for FY 2021.

In other news –

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services yesterday “issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register which proposes a three-year extension and changes to the episode definition and pricing in the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model.” “This proposed rule proposes to change certain aspects of the CJR Model, including incorporating outpatient hip and knee replacements into the episode of care definition, the target price calculation, the reconciliation process, the beneficiary notice requirements, gainsharing caps, and the appeals process. Additionally, to allow time to evaluate the proposed changes, the rule proposes to extend the length of the CJR Model for an additional three years, through December 31, 2023, for certain participant hospitals. “
  • Today, the Department of Health and Human Services “released a comprehensive strategy to reduce the regulatory and administrative burden related to the use of health IT, including EHRs.” “”The taxpayers made a massive investment in EHRs with the expectation that it would solve the many issues that plagued paper-bound health records,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Unfortunately – as this report shows – in all too many cases, the cure has been worse than the disease. Twenty years into the 21st century, it’s unacceptable that the application of Health IT still struggles to provide ready access to medical records – access that might mean the difference between life and death. The report’s recommendations provide valuable guidance on how to minimize EHR burden as we seek to fulfill the promise of an interoperable health system.”

Good luck with those efforts.

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