We’re more than halfway through the year and last week the headlines were dominated by an article published in JAMA by none other than President Obama — the first sitting President to publish an academic paper. The article discusses the successes and shortcomings of the ACA and proposes some next steps in improving our healthcare system (see “Public Option” below).
Here’s what we’re reading:
MACRA PUT ON PAUSE – On Wednesday CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt told lawmakers he’s considering delaying the start date for MACRA, which is set to go into effect Jan 1. If a MACRA delay were to happen, a representative from the AMA proposed July 1 as a new start date. The American Medical Group Association and Alliance of Specialty Medicine have also backed that start time.
MACRA WHO? – According to a survey by Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions, 50% of physicians have never heard of MACRA. Independent physicians were more likely to be at least somewhat familiar with MACRA (21 percent) over physicians that worked in hospitals, health systems, or medical groups (9 percent). Perhaps a delayed start date could be useful for educating physicians about the Medicare payment legislation.
RENEWED INTEREST IN THE PUBLIC OPTION – President Obama discussed the future of the ACA earlier in the week, and that future includes the infamous “public option”, an original part of Obamacare that acts as a public insurer alongside for-profit companies. The policy was ultimately killed by lawmakers wary of the costs of establishing a state-run insurance. But it turns out the measure’s demise wasn’t permanent as Hillary Clinton has recently voiced support for the measure as well.
DO PATIENTS HATE EMRs? – A study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine discovered that patients at the University of Chicago ambulatory clinic had positive impressions of their physicians’ computer use after EMR implementation. On the whole, they found that EMR’s allowed doctors to communicate with each other more frequently, and provide more visual demonstrations of their care.
IN DEFENSE OF THE DOCTOR-PHYSICIAN RELATIONSHIP- A physician from New York wrote in the New York Times that patients, are generally happy with the medical care they receive from their doctors and like doctors, are primarily frustrated with the bureaucratic aspects of medicine, but not medicine itself. She added that a new study by the Physicians Foundation found that more than 90 percent of the the 1,500 patients they studied were satisfied with their relationship with their primary care doctor.
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