Healthcare News & Insights

Supreme Court hearings create new uncertainty for health IT

As if the shifting deadline for the ICD-10 transition and complex meaningful use rules weren’t enough, now the recent Supreme Court hearings on healthcare reform are creating even more uncertainty about the future of health IT. 

Calls to change or repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have existed ever since President Obama signed the healthcare reform bill into law in 2010. What’s different now is that the Supreme Court is hearing arguments and is expected to make a decision by June, Information Week reports.

Long story short: At that time, the Court could overturn some or all of the law.

With the possibility of the law being repealed, many organizations may be unsure of how to set their IT budgets. For example, states and payers must make a significant IT investment to begin supporting state health insurance exchanges — however, those may no longer be needed, depending on how the Court rules.

Overturning the reform law would also impact the development of electronic health information exchanges (HIEs), proposed changes to reimburse expenses based on quality of care, and health IT training and workforce development, according to a recent fact sheet from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

However, analysts point out that many areas of health IT won’t be hugely impacted, even if the healthcare law is overturned. For example, the ICD-10 transition shouldn’t be affected, and the incentive programs for electronic health records were established by the separate HITECH Act.

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