More Health Care Reform

This is a very important document. It’s a timeline of when provisions in the brand new HCR bill go into effect.

My interest was not in the bonanza of stuff that goes into effect in the next six months but what goes into effect in 2012 and 2013. The big ones are:

* Linking Payment to Outcomes.
* Reducing Avoidable Hospital Readmissions.
* Health plans must adopt and implement uniform standards and business rules for the electronic exchange of health information to reduce paperwork and administrative burdens and costs.

These points are huge and, while I knew they were coming, no one carrying a sign said anything about them. The specialist doctors are going to get shellacked by this thing since currently they bill by test, not by outcome. It’s the beginnings of the LBJ Medicare patch that failed way back when.

And for the uniform standards and business rules for electronic records, I hope the hospitals are willing to pay programmers. Quick! Everyone learn VB.NET! There’s a job for YOU! Combine that with HIPAA and security concerns for EMR and now the requirement to implement a standard in three years… Sure it’s just health plans but those health plans have to interact with hospital systems.

Lots of stuff to chew on here. It’s frontloaded with free bennies that will come online two months before the election. It’s not entirely clear what the reconciliation patch will do once it’s done.