HIMSS, others 'relieved' after Supreme Court decision, ready to move on
The Supreme Court brought down its gavel June 28 in favor of the Affordable Care Act, and most healthcare IT stakeholders are ready to put the uncertainty behind them and move on.
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) President and CEO H. Stephen Lieber said, “HIMSS, like the rest of the country, is relieved that questions about the healthcare reform law have now been settled and the nation can move forward with the essential work of transforming healthcare in America.”
HIMSS officials noted, that while there are many potential implications for health IT in the ACA, the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Program was never in jeopardy regardless of the outcome of this case; that program was authorized by the HITECH Act, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The ACA was separate legislation passed in 2010.
In a press conference following the Supreme Court’s decision, Dave Roberts, vice president of government relations at HIMSS, said, “After over two years of legal maneuvering, we finally have a decision today. There has not been a more historic piece of legislation enacted since Medicare.”
Roberts said now that the Supreme Court decision has been made, there are a number of steps that need to be taken beyond that decision to make sure heath IT is used correctly to identify patients. Multiple associations are working with Congress to come up with a nationwide way to identify patients.
According to Roberts, shortly after the decision he began to hear from some hospital CEOs, relieved at the outcome. The ACA will relieve hospitals of much of the uncompensated care they now carry. This will increase available funding to purchase health IT, and to invest even beyond what is required under the meaningful use program, he said.
“Consumers are going to be demanding ways to access their health information, and this will just be the tip of iceberg on the innovations we’re going to see, now that this issue has been decided,” Roberts said.
Justin Barnes, vice president of marketing, industry and government affairs at Greenway Medical Technologies and co-chair of the Accountable Care Community of Practice, said the Supreme Court decision would help spur positive steps in the healthcare industry. It will allow communities to confidently and quickly engage in care coordination models that will create a more sustainable healthcare system. Both parties support accountable care.