News Briefs

December 27, 1996

News Briefs

The following news summaries are from OPM AM, the daily newsletter of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM AM is available on OPM Mainstreet, the agency's electronic bulletin board, at 202-606-4800.

THE $10 MILLION IMPACT STATEMENT--"As anyone who has ever bought an encyclopedia can attest, knowledge costs money. The federal government is no exception: Meeting its obligation to maintain an informed electorate is a time-consuming and pricey process. Consider, for example, the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Nevada Test Site and Off-Site Locations in the State of Nevada.' Tipping the postal Toledos at just over 15 pounds, the complete 10-piece matched set pictured here cost the Department of Energy an estimated $10 million to produce in a first printing of 2,000 copies. That may seem like a lot. But from our unprejudiced point of view,' said Nancy Harkess of DOE's Nevada Operations Office, which handled the project, it's probably one of the most cost-effective' reports of its kind" (The Washington Post).

U.S. TO LIMIT HMO INCENTIVES LINKED TO CURBS ON MEDICARE, MEDICAID TREATMENT--"In an effort to ensure patients receive appropriate treatment, the federal government will impose new rules on Medicaid and Medicare providers next week limiting financial penalties for doctors who order referrals or expensive procedures. The new regulation still will allow health maintenance organizations to tie physician pay to their ability to control costs, but will restrict the financial losses for referring patients to specialists, conducting sophisticated tests or prescribing elaborate treatments more often than an HMO prefers" (The Washington Post).

TRYING TO SLICE THE NATIONAL PIE AND MEND SOCIAL SECURITY, TOO--"For the last few years, the debate over the future of Social Security has been cast largely in terms of what should be done to prevent the system itself from running out of money after baby boomers start retiring early in the next century. But now, with the much-delayed report of a Federal advisory panel on Social Security ready for release, perhaps as early as Monday, a much more significant fault line is finally coming into focus. Ultimately at stake in the debate over how to solve the program's long-term financial problems, say those on both sides of the trenches, is a choice that will shape the very nature of the American economy in the decades ahead" (The New York Times).

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