Editor's Desk: T.W.I.G. Notes

By Tom Sullivan
08:15 AM

With what else could I possibly start this episode of This Week in Government Health IT than the news everyone already knows? The reelection of President Obama keeps the ACA momentum moving forward but also introduces a number of changes.

In the consistent column, the cadre of healthcare industry associations use the occasion politically themselves by first congratulating Obama, then publicly pushing their agenda hoping to catch the President’s eye. The AMA, for its part, said the results mark a time to move away from the Medicare broken payment system, which of course is slated to cut physician payments. [Related: Medicaid will pay primary docs equal to Medicare.]

And while one industry veteran I spoke with this week explained that “it’s kind of hard to work in healthcare and not be excited by Obama’s reelection,” tremendous resistance remains to the law such that it’s far too early to tell whether the reelection will inspire ACA opposition to turn around and institute the more controversial aspects, such as health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion. One thing’s for sure, though: It won’t get any easier to achieve meaningful use of EHRs under a second Obama term. Not that it necessarily, should.

While we’re on EHRs, national coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD, pointed to the election as evidence that data is critical in politics – and healthcare.

But it wasn’t just politics this first November week. Sarah Collins, PhD, RN shares over on the HIMSS blog the Top 10 focus areas for nursing informatics governance, a list she compiled by interviewing hospital leaders throughout the country. 

So soon after Hurricane Sandy struck the mid-Atlantic, HackensackUMC again rolled out its mobile satellite ED, this time preparing for a nor’easter that may or may not be known as Athena, depending on which suitor you ask. I only met Athena ever so briefly and she was reasonably kind to me, but perhaps she’s the sort with a quiver of aliases.

An ACO by another name might answer to the call integrated delivery network, which prompted Kaiser Health News’ Jenny Gold to ask if ACOs are doomed to fail?

Which brings us right back around to the Affordable Care Act.

Indeed, the law survived but with the same Republican House of Representatives that has already voted to repeal it more than 30 times, will we find ourselves in the same legislative and healthcare gridlock of the last two years? Or will states begin to adopt the ACA now that it is here to stay? Comment below.