The transition to a Republican administration and a Republican-controlled Congress in January 2017 is expected to bring some changes to the healthcare industry.
So what implications on health IT, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), and on Privacy and Security might be expected under the new administration? Let us dare take a glimpse into the future.
Impact on Health IT
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) resulted in many value-based care initiatives. Now some have concerns that the progress made toward value-based care so far may be in danger if ACA is repealed.
The future cannot be predicted, but the fact is that the support for much of the value-based care agenda is already strong. When it comes to new regulations, healthcare experts in general do not expect to see any drastic or immediate changes.
However, an area of concern could be the Content Management System (CMS) Innovation Center, also known as CMMI. Healthcare experts see it as an essential tool to consistent learning in healthcare, but its value might be questioned in the future, even though it’s embedded in the ACA.
As cyberattacks targeting the healthcare industry have alarmingly increased in the last years, some hope that the new administration will take radical steps to boost cybersecurity protection, maybe with a general program across different industries.
A strong focus on cybersecurity and electronic sharing of sensitive data as a key component of national security would definitely be a benefit for the healthcare sector.
Impact on MACRA
From what we can assume right know, for the most part MACRA is safe, and will move forward without dramatic changes. Nevertheless, there is a chance of a shift away from accountable care organizations towards bundled payments or price control, cuts, or other ways of utilization control in the form of reduction in reimbursement for different kinds of services.
So the concept of MACRA probably won’t change, but the concept of spending control might shift.
Also, the MACRA law goes into effect January 1, 2017, prior to the new president’s inauguration. Potential adjustments can’t be expected before 2018.
Impact on Privacy and Security
Though we don’t know yet how most privacy and data security issues will be approached in the future, we do not expect any major change in The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enforcement under the new administration.
“According to The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights, the department plans on funding the audit program using some of the $27 million collected from fines and penalties to resolve HIPAA violations.”
Also, the ongoing HIPAA compliance audit program will probably not be affected by the new administration.
2017 will be highly interesting. No matter what happens and whatever changes the future might bring, one thing in healthcare will remain the same: The focus on improving the health of individuals and granting accessibility to healthcare when and where it is needed.