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Trump Administration Might Weaken Federal Health IT Mandates

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Electronic Health Records, Home Healthcare, Hospitals and Institutions, Legislation and Public Policy, Medicare and Medicaid, Reimbursement Matters

Eric Fader was quoted in a December 8 article, “Trump Administration Might Weaken Federal Health IT Mandates,” in Bloomberg BNA’s Health Care Daily Report. In the article, Eric discussed possible changes to health information technology programs under the Trump administration.

Eric pointed out that although health information technology and the idea of electronic interoperability have generally had bipartisan support, the incoming administration might be pressured to reduce funding for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) if it needs to reallocate resources to pay for more sweeping healthcare-related goals. Programs that can be cash positive, or at least cash neutral, are more likely to remain unaffected.

Observing that Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the prospective nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, generally supports deregulation, Eric suggested that certain initiatives like the ONC’s certification program for electronic health records (EHRs) might be made less prescriptive. “As a physician, [Price] is expected to particularly favor measures that will reduce the overall regulatory burden on clinicians, but on the other hand he undoubtedly recognizes that the transition to value-based reimbursement is necessary to reduce costs to the healthcare system overall and will require universal use of EHRs,” Eric said. 

Although healthcare organizations may be cautious about making further investments in technology in the short term, some government initiatives, like the Quality Payment Program under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), discussed here, should continue undisturbed at least through 2017, Eric predicted: “I don’t think any lawmakers will want to mess with the MACRA regulations because MACRA replaced the universally loathed SGR [Sustainable Growth Rate reimbursement formula], and some initiatives like meaningful use [of EHRs] are probably too far along to be undone and don’t trigger the visceral reactions that the ACA does.”

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