The National Institute for Health Care Management says more than two fifths of the 18.8 percent increase in outpatient drug spending from 1999 to 2000 was attributable to higher demand. A bit more than a third of the spending increase was linked to newer medications.... HMOs begin declaring this month whether they will stay in Medicare. HealthMetrix Research predicts withdrawals displacing 700,000 members.... "Everyone in health care hates HCFA," Julie Rovner wrote in Congress Daily/AM the same week HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson decided to run the agency for one week. Thompson wanted to see how "we can do things better," but a new identity wasn't what others had in mind; at the end of the week, Thompson was considering changing HCFA's name to the Medicare and Medicaid Association.... One of the more interesting proposals floating around Washington comes from Kenneth Cooper, M.D., the president's reported choice to become the next surgeon general: tax deductions for meeting personal health targets, e.g., for cholesterol and blood pressure. Did someone say "Privacy"?.... Mary Jane England, M.D., is leaving the Washington Business Group on Health this month to become president of her alma mater, Regis College.... Beginning July 1, San Francisco city workers will be entitled to sex-change benefits for surgery, hormone therapy, and counseling.