IOM Report Urges HIV/AIDS Baseline for Obamacare

The Institute of Medicine released a 170-page report urging the Administration to create a baseline estimate of health coverage and utilization for those with HIV before Obamacare becomes fully effective in 2014. The report said that the baseline could be established and then monitored going forward using data from Medicare, Medicaid, CDC, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and private health insurers.

Bundled Payment Initiatives Delayed

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) announced that it will delay and re-evaluate the implementation of the first of four bundled payment initiatives which involves acute care admissions and postdischarge services. The agency will also review the proposals of other potential participants in the other three bundled payment models before making final selections.

MA Five Star Ratings Issued

CMS announced that eleven Medicare Advantage plans will receive "five star" top quality rating bonuses for 2013. Ratings are based on 48 quality measures, including preventive screenings, managing chronic conditions and patient experience. In addition, CMS said the number of Medicare beneficiaries having access to the 26 four or five star prescription drug plans will double in 2013 (up to 18%).

Senator Rockefeller Seeks Information on Drug Abuse

In letters to major groups representing physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, medical schools and other health professionals, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, Sen. John D. Rockefeller, asked for information about the daily challenges that health professionals face when prescribing drugs and ideas to help ensure that prescribers are equipped with the tools and resources to help reduce prescription drug abuse.

Bioethics Commission Recommendations on Genome Sequencing

The Bioethics Commission released a report on the benefits of "whole genome sequencing" for individual patients, but cautioned that there is the potential for misuse of personal data. The commission report recommends that federal and state governments: establish a floor of privacy protections that apply to all genetic tests, regardless of how a sample was obtained; prohibit gene sequencing without prior consent; establish guidelines for informed consent; and ensure the privacy and security of cloud-based computer databases that store genetic information.

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