Healthcare IT advocacy groups relieved by Supreme Court ruling

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The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is among many healthcare IT organizations that expressed relief regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform legislation.

While some aspects of healthcare IT could have been affected by the verdict of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, federal programs such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) meaningful use initiative would have continued regardless of the ruling.

The CMS’ medical informatics meaningful use incentive program falls under the remit of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. The HITECH Act is part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), which is legislation separate from the provisions established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“HIMSS, like the rest of the country, is relieved that questions about the healthcare reform law have now been settled and the nation can move forward with the essential work of transforming healthcare in America,” said H. Stephen Lieber, president and chief executive officer of HIMSS. “Health information technology is critical to the ongoing transformation in our nation.”

Dave Roberts, vice president of public relations at HIMSS, said many hospitals and chief information officers were relieved at the Supreme Court’s verdict. As a result of the ruling, the ACA will relieve many healthcare facilities of the uncompensated care they are currently carrying as a result of previous regulations. This, in turn, may enable healthcare IT spending to increase beyond the levels established to achieve accreditation of meaningful use of medical informatics systems.

According to HIMSS, if the Supreme Court had ruled against the ACA, a number of national healthcare IT initiatives would have been nullified. Certain statewide health information exchange projects, reimbursement models based on the quality of care and healthcare IT workforce development programs would have been lost.