The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has identified five principles to guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems to protect the public in the age of artificial intelligence (AI).
“The Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: Making Automated Systems Work for the American People,” announced October 4, aims to provide a framework for anyone seeking to incorporate protections into policy and practice. The blueprint is designed around five principles intended to safeguard Americans from the adverse impacts of automated systems: 1) safe and effective systems, 2) algorithmic discrimination protection, 3) data privacy, 4) notice and explanation, and 5) human alternatives, considerations, and fallback plans.
Of interest to clinical laboratories, the blueprint addresses health and health insurance technologies, such as medical AI systems, AI-assisted diagnostic tools, algorithms, and predictive models used to support clinical-decision making.
Details about the framework, along with a technical companion on how the blueprint can be applied, can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/ai-bill-of-rights/.
HHS AWARDS FUNDS TO ENHANCE PREPAREDNESS FOR SPECIAL PATHOGENS
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) recently awarded $21 million to 13 healthcare facilities to serve as leading providers of care within their regions to sustain and improve healthcare system preparedness for emerging special pathogens.
ASPR selected three new healthcare facilities to serve as Regional Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Centers (RESPTCs), awarding $3 million to each, and awarded an additional $1.2 million each to the 10 existing RESPTCs.
RESPTCs are hospitals with enhanced capability and capacity to care for highly infectious diseases, such as Ebola or COVID-19. They serve as hubs for the National Special Pathogen System and are continuously ready to care for special pathogen patients medically evacuated from overseas or diagnosed within the United States.
CBO IDENTIFIES APPROACHES TO REDUCE PRICES THAT COMMERCIAL INSURERS PAY FOR MEDICAL SERVICES
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has identified new policy approaches that federal lawmakers could adopt to reduce the prices that commercial insurers pay for medical services, thereby lowering health insurance premiums and the cost of federal subsidies.
According to the CBO, the prices that commercial health insurers in the United States pay for services provided by hospitals and physicians are much higher, on average, and have been rising more quickly than the prices paid by public health insurance programs. Those rising prices, rather than growth in the per-person use of healthcare services, are an important driver of recent increases in premiums for commercial health plans.
Government policies can reduce commercial insurers’ prices for providers by targeting the factors that contribute to high prices, says the CBO, which has identified three broad policy approaches available to Congress: promoting price transparency, promoting competition among providers, and capping the growth of prices.
Details about these proposals are discussed in the report, “Policy Approaches to Reduce What Commercial Insurers Pay for Hospitals’ and Physicians’ Services,” available at www.cbo.gov/system/files/2022-09/58222-medical-prices.pdf.