June 19: Executives (and shareholders) at CVS Health and Aetna may be breathing a little easier. Legal experts suggest that AT&T's court victory in its bid to buy Time Warner will boost other vertical integrations. But that doesn't mean it's smooth sailing for the $69 billion CVS-Aetna deal, which still needs regulatory approval. The California Department of Insurance is holding a hearing to examine the merger's impact on the country's most populous state. Dr. Barbara McAneny, who was sworn in last week as the American Medical Association's new president, told Modern Healthcare that she will be on hand to express the association's strong concern about the merger's impact on retail pharmacy and pharmacy benefit manager operations.
June 19: The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee continues its oversight hearings on the 340B discount drug program. In the hot seat this time: Capt. Krista Pedley, director of pharmacy affairs at the Health Resources and Services Administration. During a hearing last month, the Government Accountability Office reported that HRSA had made some progress in addressing deficiencies in the program, but continued to have problems with how eligible patients and hospitals are defined.
June 25: OK, this is technically next week, but June 25 is when comments are due to the CMS on its inpatient prospective payment rule. Our guess is you'll need more than a week to refine your thoughts. As of June 13, the agency had received nearly 500 comments. The proposed rule aims to do a lot of things, such as reduce the number of quality measures used for value-based purchasing programs, retool the electronic health record incentive program (the CMS is doing away with "meaningful use"), and push transparency by requiring hospitals to publish their standard charges.