Supreme Court Decision on Affordable Care Act Will Boost Confidence in Health IT Initiatives
The much anticipated Supreme Court Decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010 (ACA) act will fortify many health IT initiatives already under way.
"I think it is very positive for the health IT initiatives," said Leslie Ann Fox, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, chief executive officer of Care Communications Inc., Chicago, and longtime ADVANCE columnist. "It was unsettling to not know whether it was going forward. People will have much more confidence in investing their time, investing their money, and investing their effort in EHR. I think it will be a psychological boost."
The ACA provisions that affect health IT include quality reporting, quality measure development, health IT interoperability standards and protocols, availability of Medicare data for performance measurement, measures to enhance the HIM workforce, and administrative simplification.
"Despite differences of opinion on the Healthcare Reform Law, members of both parties in Congress recognize the need to transform healthcare in this country, and the important role health IT will play in that transformation," stated Dave Roberts, MPA, FHIMSS, HIMSS vice president, government relations, in a press release. "We anticipate that the benefits of health IT will continue to receive bipartisan support as our nation establishes the infrastructure necessary for improving patient care and take strides to enhance the cost effectiveness of care delivery in the U.S."
Many health plans and hospitals already have voluntarily adopted the administrative simplification principles in the ACA. "The savings from this initiative - estimated to be $3 billion over three years - and the proven decrease in claims denials, are just too significant to ignore," stated Sunny Singh, Edifecs CEO, in a press release.
The ACA also provides a foundation for the development of more Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) within the public sector. About 85 public sector ACOs and 120 private sector ACOs have been established and are using new payment models that have generated widespread interest. Adoption of EHR is a key element in ACOs' success.
The ACA does not affect prior legislation such as HITECH, ARRA, and HIPAA. The mandate to implement ICD-10 also is not tied to the legal challenge.