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Category Archives: Health Care

HHS OIG – Federal Marketplace: Inadequacies in Contract Planning and Procurement

Report (OEI-03-14-00230) 01-20-2015 Federal Marketplace: Inadequacies in Contract Planning and Procurement

  • WHY WE DID THIS STUDY: “The Federal Marketplace at HealthCare.gov was designed to enable millions of Americans to select health insurance in a “one-stop shop” environment. A project of this magnitude and complexity required the development, integration, and operation of multiple information technology (IT) systems and Government databases. CMS acquisition planning and procurement activities were among the first steps critical to ensuring the success of this project. CMS awarded 60 contracts across 33 companies to perform this work. The troubled launch of the Federal Marketplace at HealthCare.gov in October 2013 raised a number of concerns, including questions about the adequacy of CMS’s planning and procurement efforts for this key project under the Affordable Care Act.
  • HOW WE DID THIS STUDY: We conducted a detailed review of documentation provided by CMS for the 60 Federal Marketplace contracts, selected 6 key contracts for indepth review, and interviewed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and CMS officials involved with contracting for the Federal Marketplace. We also reviewed procurement regulations, manuals, guides, and procedures provided by both HHS and CMS for acquisition planning, contractor selection, and contracting oversight processes.
  • WHAT WE FOUND:  When awarding the Federal Marketplace contracts, CMS did not always meet contracting requirements. For example, CMS did not develop an overarching acquisition strategy for the Federal Marketplace or perform all required oversight activities. Moreover, for a project of this size and importance, CMS missed opportunities to leverage all available acquisition planning tools and contracting approaches to identify and mitigate risks. Specifically, CMS did not exercise the option to plan for a lead systems integrator to coordinate all contractors’ efforts prior to the launch of the Federal Marketplace. The complexity of the Federal Marketplace underscored the need for CMS to select the most qualified contractors. However, CMS did not perform thorough reviews of contractor past performance when awarding two key contracts. CMS also made contracting decisions that may have limited the number of acceptable proposals for much of the key Federal Marketplace work. In addition, CMS selected contract types that placed the risk of cost increases for this work solely on the Government.”

Immunologist argues that the world is making us sick

The chemicals in our everyday lives are, argues immunologist Claudia Miller, by Jill Neimark “Claudia Miller has spent 30 years hammering out a theory to explain the contemporary surge in perplexing, multi-symptom illnesses—from autism to Gulf War Syndrome—which represent a Kuhnian shift in medicine. She calls her theory “TILT,” short for Toxicant Induced Loss ofContinue Reading

Low Income Students Now a Majority in Public Schools

Southern Education Foundation: A New Majority – Low Income Students Now a Majority In the Nation’s Public Schools, January, 2015. “Low income students are now a majority of the schoolchildren attending the nation’s public schools, according to this research bulletin. The latest data collected from the states by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), show that 51 percentContinue Reading

Implications of a Supreme Court Finding for the Plaintiff in King vs. Burwell

Urban Institute – Linda J. Blumberg, Matthew Buettgens, John Holahan. The Implications of a Supreme Court Finding for the Plaintiff in King vs. Burwell: 8.2 Million More Uninsured and 35% Higher Premiums, January 8, 2015. “The Supreme Court will hear the King v. Burwell case, in which the plaintiff argues that the ACA prohibits payment of premium taxContinue Reading

Social Media and the Cost of Caring

“For generations, commentators have worried about the impact of technology on people’s stress. Trains and industrial machinery were seen as noisy disruptors of pastoral village life that put people on edge. Telephones interrupted quiet times in homes. Watches and clocks added to the de-humanizing time pressures on factory workers to be productive. Radio and televisionContinue Reading

2013 Drug Overdose Mortality Data Announced

Prescription Opioid Deaths Level; Heroin-related Deaths Rise – [January 13, 2015] the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is announcing the 2013 drug overdose mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The data show that drug deaths related to prescription opioids have remained stable since 2012, but the mortalityContinue Reading

Johnson & Johnson Announces Clinical Trial Data Sharing Agreement With Yale School of Medicine

News release: “Johnson & Johnson today announced that its subsidiary, Janssen Research and Development, LLC, has entered into a novel agreement with Yale School of Medicine’s Open Data Access (YODA) Project that will extend its commitment to sharing clinical trials data to enhance public health and advance science and medicine.  Under the agreement, YODA willContinue Reading

Rising Cost of Living Longer” Details Medicare Spending by Age

“A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation takes a detailed look at per person Medicare spending by age and by service among the nearly 30 million people covered by traditional Medicare in 2011. This analysis examines the relationship between Medicare per person spending and advancing age, providing new data to inform ongoing federal budgetContinue Reading

OECD Public Data is in Beta

Find, compare and share the latest OECD data:charts, maps, tables and related publications’. Start with one or two short search terms, then refine your results by adding more words. Catalogue of OECD databases or Browse by Topic or Country Agriculture Agricultural land, Agricultural output, Agricultural policy, Fisheries DevelopmentDevelopment resource flows, Official development assistance (ODA) Economy Corporate, Domestic product, Foreign directContinue Reading

Open Payments Explorer – How Much Industry Money Goes to Doctors and Teaching Hospitals

Lena Groeger, Ryann Grochowski Jones, Charles Ornstein and Mike Tigas, ProPublica, Jan. 7, 2015 “Beginning in 2014, the federal government mandated that pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers publicly report payments made to doctors and teaching hospitals. The first report covered the last five months of 2013. Use this tool to search for a company, drugContinue Reading

CBO Report on HR 30 Save Workers Act of 2015

As introduced in the House of Representatives on January 6, 2015 – “H.R. 30 would change how penalties are imposed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on employers that do not offer insurance (or offer insurance that does not meet certain criteria) and that have at least one full-time employee receiving a subsidy through aContinue Reading

CDC – Alcohol poisoning kills six people in the US each day

“More than 2,200 people die from alcohol poisoning each year in the United States – an average of six deaths each day – according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three in four alcohol poisoning deaths involve adults ages 35-64 years, and most deaths occur among men andContinue Reading