Thursday, January 29, 2009

Healthcare Payments Automation and the New President

By Mark Brousseau

During his campaign for office, Barack Obama outlined a healthcare plan promising to “lower health care costs by $2,500 for a typical family by investing in health information technology, prevention and care coordination.”

The economic stimulus package currently being debated in Congress reportedly includes $20 billion for healthcare IT. The Committee on Ways & Means reportedly stated the IT funds would be used to establish standards, payment incentives and privacy protections to encourage the widespread adoption of healthcare IT.

According to a discussion draft from the House Appropriations Committee, the $20 billion is intended to “cut red tape, prevent medical mistakes, provide better care to patients and help reduce healthcare costs by billions of dollars each year by introducing cost-saving efficiencies.”

Dwayne L. McAfee, president and CEO, Payformance Corporation, believes the Obama administration will support initiatives to further automate healthcare payments. More specifically, McAfee anticipates the following:

... A continued commitment to the electronic standards first established by the HIPAA legislation of 1996. He expects that the new administration will support the final rule recently published for transition from Version 4010A1 to Version 5010 of the HIPAA Transactions and Code Sets.

... A continued emphasis on efficient delivery of appropriate healthcare services without administrative burden. McAfee expects efforts aimed at effective information exchange to further reduce administrative overhead.

... A continued commitment to build on the automation foundations in place today. McAfee expects support for accelerated adoption of electronic payments and remittance advices. Furthermore, he expects initiatives aimed at making claim settlement data visible and easily accessible.

McAfee also is optimistic that the new administration will continue support for expanded payer/provider connectivity and efficiency with regard to claim settlement communications.

What do you think? Post your comment below.

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