The House of Representatives and the Senate are in session this week for Committee business and floor voting. Both bodies are on a State/district work break for the first two weeks of April.
Last Friday, OPM released to FEHB carriers its technical guidance supporting its call letter for 2024 benefit and rate proposals.
Federal News Network offers a long look at OPM’s process to implement the Postal Service Health Benefits Program.
OPM and AHIP will hold their annual conference for FEHB carriers on Wednesday and Thursday this week. The agenda can be found here. The 2024 call letter and PSHBP implementation are agenda topics.
From the healthcare front —
NPR Shots discusses
Fortune Well highlights the value of common mental health care drugs.
STAT News reports
Millions of diabetes cases may be missed under the current U.S. screening guidelines, especially among Asian Americans, according to a new study. A better way to test for the condition would be to leave body weight out of it, the researchers suggest.
Current guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend screening adults ages 35-70 who are considered overweight or obese (having a body mass index over 25).
However, racial and ethnic minority groups, especially Asian people, tend to develop diabetes at lower BMIs, so to identify more people with the condition across groups, all adults ages 35-70 regardless of their weight should be screened, researchers said in a study Friday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
NPR Shots also invites us to meet the amazing “glass-half-full girl” whose brain was rewired as an infant after losing the left hemisphere.
In most people, speech and language live in the brain’s left hemisphere. Mora Leeb is not most people.
When she was 9 months old, surgeons removed the left side of her brain. Yet at 15, Mora plays soccer, tells jokes, gets her nails done, and, in many ways, lives the life of a typical teenager.
“I can be described as a glass-half-full girl,” she says, pronouncing each word carefully and without inflection. Her slow, cadence-free speech is one sign of a brain that has had to reorganize its language circuits.
Yet to a remarkable degree, Mora’s right hemisphere has taken on jobs usually done on the left side. It’s an extreme version of brain plasticity, the process that allows a brain to modify its connections to adapt to new circumstances.
Because it’s Sunday, here are two opinion pieces
- The New York Times shares expert opinions on preparedness for the next pandemic.
- Three professors of surgery at the University of California Medical Center defend the current United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
- As a private, nonprofit organization under contract with the federal government to manage the national organ transplant system, UNOS spearheads the complex, multidisciplinary organ procurement, matching, and delivery processes. With its contract up for renewal this spring, UNOS has come under heavy scrutiny, including in a recent guest column published in the New York Times, in which UNOS and other system organizations’ performances were blamed for the death of a kidney transplant candidate. This is just one example in a series of accusations made across news media, social media, and even in Congress.
- Painting with such a broad and biased stroke creates an unfair representation of our highly nuanced organ transplant system and the people who run it. As transplant surgeons with a long history of involvement with the system — including one of us (Roberts) serving as a past Board President of UNOS/Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) — we have intimate knowledge of both its successes and its shortcomings. While UNOS has room to improve operationally — and is working to do so — we clearly see the organization’s life-changing results in our operating rooms and offices. More work lies ahead, however, such as addressing the fact that a rising number of organs are recovered but not transplanted.