The American Health Care Act 2017

I was chatting with my colleague Scott Mash from the CSO HIMSS Board on the way to work this morning and we were talking about how all of the successes we have had over the last 5 to 6 years on improving interoperability across the healthcare landscape in the United States and Meaningful Use could all be in jeopardy with the new healthcare law currently being proposed by The White House and to be voted on in Congress this week. The American Health Care Act in consideration will have a direct impact on the lives of all of the patient population across the healthcare spectrum. Healthcare providers across the United States are strongly lobbying that the proposal be changed and significantly improved so that it can protect health care access for many individuals nationwide.

The proposed act puts the healthcare benefits of around 14 million individuals, that depend on Medicaid for health coverage into ambiguity; a tentative roll-back of Medicaid expansion in several states and differences in how the US government will assist the states to pay for Medicaid, will mean that each state may have to bear the brunt of these cut backs with potentially less federal subsidies coming in. This means that states such as my state, “The Great State of Ohio” will have to reduce payment rates, patient eligibility or patient benefits in order to cover the shortfall.In addition to Medicaid coverage losses, employer coverage could fall by as much as 7 million. Patients who might have otherwise had employer-sponsored insurance would transition to the individual market or become uninsured.

Beyond the increase in the self-pay patient population, many individuals may have extremely high deductibles that would make their healthcare insurance coverage unaffordable to them. This information is going out to many within healthcare providers. I was able to get some of the information for this blog post from other people that I know and do not claim to be the originator of this blog post information.

While there is no silver bullet to achieve healthcare benefits for all, the answer is not to roll back the successes we have seen over the last decade; the opportunity for us now is to build on the achievements we have made and improve how we can achieve better patient outcomes for all. Let’s continue to improve and not roll the clocks back.  

PS – The inspiration for this blog post was when Scott and I ended the call with “Holy Toledo! To the Blog Cave Batman!”

 

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HIMSS ’17 Updates Regulatory Reluctance & Inspiration from Rometty

News from on the ground at HIMSS 17 is that the current tone coming from the regulatory and policy sessions has been one of  reluctance in discussing potential changes possible my due to the ambiguity  due to new administration”

Ginni Rometty the Opening Keynote speaker also spoke to the audience and was received enthusiastically from the news on the ground folks. Healthcare IT News said that Rometty said that the ‘cognitive era is a profoundly hopeful moment in time’ and also announced solutions for value based care and Watson Health Consulting Services. She also reportedly mentioned projects that was ongoing with the Cleveland Clinic and Memorial Sloan Kettering to advance ‘cognitive computing’ per Healthcare IT  News. 

More from Healthcare Interoperability’s roving reporters on the ground! Thanks all. 

2016 – The year of Disruptive Living

With 2016 behind us, it’s hard to believe we somehow survived this year. Whether we admit it or not, we’re not used to big changes and politics does play an important part of our lives. Whether it’s in that realm or in technology, we are creatures of habit and rarely like our world or ecosystem to change. The biggest challenge I’ve always encountered on a project is change; whether it’s process or technology changes, it’s always a challenge to get people to change and adopt a new way of working. Physicians are particularly challenging to change as they are very set in their ways.

Whether it’s the elections that occurred that seemingly swung the pendulum a different direction than what was in motion for the last 24 years or the endless march of technology like Amazon Go, (which I believe could have applications outside of Retail such as in Healthcare), our lives have been greatly disrupted as we see that the status quo is not acceptable anymore.

I’ve been asked by a few people whether MACRA will get scrapped under the new US administration or whether some of the current other reporting requirements will be changed. Currently the view has been only time will tell as there has been no specific policy that has mentioned anything one way or another. Will much of the work accomplished or investment over the last 5 years be set aside or will we be able to build off that and leverage this paradigm shift for the greater good?

Only time will tell. Whatever it is, there are many people that would like to see 2016 into a distant memory and hope that the new year brings with it better fortunes than the current one has dealt many.

In Memorium: Carrie Fisher aka Princess Leia (1956 to 2016)

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”