Today’s historic ruling by the US Supreme Court upholding the vast majority of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is good news for healthcare IT proponents who support the many key elements of the law already making a positive impact on healthcare.

While the media have focused their coverage of the law on the individual mandate and other political hot potatoes, they have largely ignored the many programs under the law that have nothing to do with insurance coverage but rather provide innovative new approaches to reimbursement. 

For example, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), which was created by the Affordable Care Act, has launched several programs that have substantial promise in relation to delivery system reform. All Americans – all of us patients — can be thankful that these initiatives will now keep moving forward. 

The good news, too, is that the view that we must reshape, reform and refund our healthcare delivery system is one that is generally supported by members of Congress, whether or not they agree that “Obamacare” accomplishes that goal. Allscripts works with government officials on both sides of the aisle and we have found that health information technology and its role in delivery system reform is not so much a bipartisan as non-partisan issue. 

Why?  Because elected officials of all political persuasions understand the gravity of the healthcare challenge in this country. They understand that we need to know what care is being provided to whom and how it turns out, in order to be able to apply a fix. 

It’s worth pointing out, too, that the kind of reforms we’re talking about – a strategic shift in how we pay for healthcare – are spreading like wildfire well past Medicare.  There are more initiatives than I can count taking place across the country – everything from Accountable Care Organizations (which, according to a new study by Leavitt Partners, have increased in number by 38 percent in the last six months alone, most of them commercial) to community health teams to medical homes specifically focused on the care delivered to patients who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. I’m inspired by the Allscripts clients (from small physician practices to large integrated delivery networks) that have embraced the evolving reimbursement and delivery market that’s being built around them. 

The high court’s Affordable Care Act decision will extend and empower these and other new and creative approaches to fixing the country’s systemic healthcare challenges, enabling us to keep moving further along the track of value-driven healthcare.

 Question: What are your thoughts on today’s ruling? And how do you think it will impact the initiatives already underway or planned within your organization?

 

 

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About the author

Leigh Burchell directs the Policy & Government Affairs function for Allscripts, including legislative advocacy and regulatory interpretation and comment. She advocates not only for the interests of the software development community but also the company's 180,000 physician clients, 2,500 hospitals and 17,000 post-acute organizations. Burchell is also active in many industry associations, including the Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA), where she serves as Chair; the eHealth Initiative, where she sits on the Leadership Council and the Policy Steering Committee; and HIMSS, where she is Vice Chair of the HIMSS Public Policy Committee.

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