Impact of the Election on MACRA

By Jaime Ojeda

It is an understatement, to say the least, that the results of the presidential election was a shock to many.  For those of us intimately involved with the healthcare landscape, and specifically focused on Health IT that supports many goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the question quickly turned to, “How will all this impact Health IT spending in the coming years?”

By coincidence, I spent the night of the election, and the two days following, with policy makers and accountable care association leaders involved in the MACRA legislation creation, and provider CEOs that are aligning their organizations’ strategies to take full advantage of the Quality Payment Program laid out as part of MACRA.  It was interesting to get their take on how they saw the election results affecting ACA policy, MACRA and provider Health IT purchasing habits going forward, especially in 2017, with many providers gearing up for MACRA’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track.

The consensus from this group was the following:

  1. “Take a deep breath and stay the course.” It is highly unlikely Health IT is going to take a major U-turn and/or receive less political support.  Rather, just the opposite, as Health IT tools are widely recognized as key drivers of patient safety, efficiency, and cost-reduction.

 

  1. Value-based care is here to stay. Health IT will be closely linked with the value movement.  “Proving it” with data showing that better patient care is being delivered has never been more important. 

 

  1. MACRA legislation was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. While some tweaking may occur, significant changes are unlikely.

 

  1. Access to care (part of ACA) will receive the most scrutiny over the coming months. An article in Modern Healthcare this past week would seem to corroborate with these sentiments.

 

  1. The HITECH Act (Health IT enabler) and the ACA were two totally different pieces of legislation. As stated above, while parts of ACA will almost certainly change, HITECH is well down the path and not likely to be impacted. 

Further reading on the subject appears to support these assertions.  Members of CHIME, HIMSS, and AMIA all weighed in on the subject in a post-election Health Informatics article.

Also, post-election we’ve heard from many PrecisionBI clients and they are steadfast with their plans to prepare for MACRA/MIPS.  They, like many other provider organizations, are investing further in analytic capabilities to support their initiatives.

So, in short, MACRA/MIPS is here to stay.  If you and your organization are looking for help to prepare for it, please read my colleague Susan D’Agostino’s recent blog article on the subject.  We at PrecisionBI look forward to helping our over 350 provider organizations across the nation develop their MACRA strategy in 2017 so they are positioned well for long-term success.