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Category Archives: Health Care

CFPB Report Finds Debt Collection Tops Older Consumer Complaints

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report, A snapshot of debt collection complaints submitted by older consumers, highlighting debt collection as a top complaint for older Americans, many of whom say they struggle with debt in retirement. According to the report, some of the debt collection issues older Americans complain about include collectors: hounding aboutContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Airport and Airway Trust Fund, Food Safety, Information Sharing

FISCAL YEAR 2014 AGREED-UPON PROCEDURES: Excise Tax Distributions to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and the Highway Trust Fund, GAO-15-152R: Published: Nov 6, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 2014. FOOD SAFETY: FDA and USDA Should Strengthen Pesticide Residue Monitoring Programs and Further Disclose Monitoring Limitations, GAO-15-38: Published: Oct 7, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 2014. INFORMATION SHARING: DHS Is Assessing FusionContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Disability Compensation, DOD Business Systems Modernization, DOD Space Systems, Energy Policy

DISABILITY COMPENSATION: Review of Concurrent Receipt of Department of Defense Retirement, Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation, and Social Security Disability Insurance, GAO-14-854R: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 2014. DOD BUSINESS SYSTEMS MODERNIZATION: Additional Enhancements Are Needed for Army Business System Schedule and Cost Estimates to Fully Meet Best Practices, GAO-14-470: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: OctContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Chemical Assessments, USDA Contracting

CHEMICAL ASSESSMENTS: Agencies Coordinate Activities, but Additional Action Could Enhance Efforts, GAO-14-763: Published: Sep 29, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 29, 2014: “The chemical toxicity assessment activities at these five federal agencies are fragmented and overlapping, but GAO did not find evidence that these activities are duplicative. Their activities are fragmented because they address the same broad area ofContinue Reading

Clinical Trial Shows Cocoa Diet Reverses Age-Related Memory And Cognitive Decline

Clinical Trial Shows Cocoa Diet Reverses Age-Related Memory And Cognitive Decline: 60 Year Old Cognition Reverted to 30-40 Year Old “A new study and clinical trial by scientists at Columbia University Medical Center has shown that in healthy human adults, a diet of cocoa that is rich in flavanols is able to reverse the effectsContinue Reading

Medicare Beneficiaries Paid Nearly Half of the Costs for Outpatient Services at Critical Access Hospitals

HHS IG Report (OEI-05-12-00085), October 7, 2014 “The Critical Access Hospital (CAH) certification was created to ensure that rural beneficiaries would have access to hospital services. Medicare reimburses CAHs at 101 percent of their “reasonable costs,” rather than at the predetermined rates set by the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS). The system that Medicare uses toContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Changing Crude Oil Markets, Federal Paid Admin Leave, Food Safety

CHANGING CRUDE OIL MARKETS: Allowing Exports Could Reduce Consumer Fuel Prices, and the Size of the Strategic Reserves Should Be Reexamined, GAO-14-807: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2014. FEDERAL PAID ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE: Additional Guidance Needed to Improve OPM Data, GAO-15-79: Published: Oct 17, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2014. FOOD SAFETY: USDA Needs to Strengthen Its Approach toContinue Reading

How Initiatives to Reduce Fraud in Federal Health Care Programs Affect the Budget

“Observers often cite fraud as an important contributor to high health care spending, particularly in federal programs. This report describes how CBO estimates the budgetary effects of legislative proposals to reduce fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and how those estimates are used in the Congressional budget process. What Is Fraud? ForContinue Reading

Ebola crisis in West Africa brings hightened focus to need for vaccine

WSJ – Ebola Vaccine Push Ramps Up – After Years of Delay, Researchers Rush to Field Test a Shot to Prevent the Disease “The world had little interest in Ebola in 1997, which is why cell biologist Nancy J. Sullivan thought she might be able to make a mark. Today, if the scientific world is to haveContinue Reading

CRS – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA): Resources for Frequently Asked Questions, Angela Napili, Information Research Specialist, October 10, 2014. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended) has numerous provisions affecting private health insurance and public health coverage programs. Many of these provisions take effect in 2014. This report provides resources to help congressionalContinue Reading

Billions in Losses if Ebola Not Stopped

“With the latest death toll from Ebola now at 3,439 in the three worst-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, a new economic impact assessment from the World Bank Group says that if the epidemic was to significantly infect people in neighboring countries, some of which have much larger economies, the two-year regional financialContinue Reading

Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation Authority

CRS – Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation Authority, Jared P. Cole, Legislative Attorney. October 9, 2014. “In the wake of increasing fears about the spread of highly contagious diseases, federal, state, and local governments have become increasingly aware of the need for a comprehensive public health response to such events. An effective response could include the quarantine of personsContinue Reading