Fedweek

The emphasis on reducing mistakes (see above item), which was first announced last fall after a report on the prevalence of medical treatment errors nationwide, means that all FEHB plans will have to include patient safety initiatives, show how they plan to strengthen any such programs already existing, and help OPM provide consumer information and education on patient safety. Carriers will be expected to work with providers to carry out accountability systems designed to catch errors in prescriptions and to participate in error reporting systems designed to identify and correct system-wide problems. The carriers also are to eliminate all differences in benefit levels and limitations between coverage for mental health and substance abuse services and medical, surgical and hospital services. OPM is encouraging plans to hold down the costs by using “gatekeeper,” case management and similar managed care methods and by encouraging patients to receive their care through outpatient and other less costly treatment options.