White House Council Cites FFS as Barrier to Health Care Efficiency

The White House released a report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) which finds that the predominance of fee-for-service payment methods is the greatest barrier to improving efficiency in the health care system by rewarding procedures and not personalized care. Among the Council’s recommendations: moving to methods that use value rather than volume as the criteria for payment; developing new metrics to identify high-value care; engaging communities in systematic health care improvement; supporting the training of health care workers in the use of new means to improve the delivery of care; and requiring HHS to improve the health data infrastructure and to speed up its alignment of payment incentives with better health outcomes.

VA IG Report Shines Light on Need for Top Level Changes

The Acting Inspector General at the VA released a preliminary report which finds that there exists widespread mismanagement at the Phoenix VA facility which negatively impacted veterans access to quality care at the facility. The report also said “Allegations at the Phoenix Health Care System include gross mismanagement of VA resources and criminal misconduct by VA senior hospital leadership….” The preliminary report did not address whether delays in obtaining appointments resulted in delayed diagnoses or treatment, particularly for veterans who died while on a waiting list. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) of Veterans Affairs are so entrenched that they require new leadership to be fixed….” House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) also called on the Attorney General to immediately launch a criminal investigation into the reported problems. Legislators are rushing to help address the issues with the Senate Appropriations Committee including language from the House-passed bill, H.R. 4031, that would give the VA Secretary the ability to remove key health officials in the department. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) said they will introduce legislation that would give veterans improved means to seek health care in the private sector. The Veterans’ Affairs Committee has plans for a hearing on pending legislation this Thursday.

Phase Two of Physician Payments Sunshine Act Starts

CMS alerted affected drug manufacturers and group purchasing organizations that phase two data collection for the CMS Open Payments program began on June 1 which allows them to complete their registration in the system and submit all required data by June 30th. Payment information for the last five months of 2013 will be available by September 30th while affected physicians and teaching hospitals will be able to register with the Open Payment system to give them access to any information about them which has been submitted and to object to the information within 45 days.

White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit

President Obama convened the first White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit to raise awareness about concussions and to help advance research on how to assess and treat concussions among young athletes and others. Private organizations were cited as helping fund such research and the President also said that the Department of Defense and the National Collegiate Athletic Association have provided $30 million to fund research on concussions and other head injuries.

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