Sweeping changes for Medicare physician reimbursement are in store as federal officials look to ease eligible clinicians into the new outcomes-based program
So what this means is related to deployment of electronic health care (EHC) systems and outcome based reimbursement for physicians, clinics and hospitals. This likely won’t have much to do for us here in Jefferson County, because we have already seen our independent providers pretty much wiped out and subsumed, for better or worse, by Jefferson Healthcare. Those left standing in our county and Clallam, will be able to possibly get better reimbursements, but it will require continued deployment and measurable patient use, of EHC. The details are massive, and unlikely to be implemented by small clinics and providers given the small payback from the Feds. However, this update has been put together after input (some quite negative apparently) by tens of thousands of smaller providers. So we hope that it is going to lead to greater reimburses to them for their efforts.
The move towards EHRs has seriously, once again, been an issue that favored the large healthcare chains over small providers. The small providers I’ve talked to either refuse to expend the energy and resources to do it, or just close up shop. It’s funny, health care seemed to work fine for decades without EHR, and when the insurance companies and others get into the business in a big way, all of sudden we need it to survive. Our indices of health continue to go down, health care costs continue to rise, while our privacy is compromised by the millions of records that have been hacked over the last few years. Additionally, providers are expending vast resources on dubious technology. Rather than come up with better security, the providers are basically told to go online or don’t expect reimbursements. It argues that if we are going to be forced to do that, we should get rid of the insurance middlemen and simply go single payer. As a certain presidential candidate has asked, “What do we have to lose?” (I am not endorsing that candidate by quoting him as it was in context to a very different issue).