05-09-13 | Blog Post

Indiana HIMSS Spring Conference: Health Reform and Future of Public Health

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Online Tech exhibited HIPAA hosting solutions at booth #9 at the Indiana HIMSS Spring Conference hosted in Carmel, Indiana. The conference theme centered around Innovation in HIT (Health Information Technology).

Impact of Health Reform
Seema Verma, SVC Consulting, Indiana Health Reform Lead Affordable Care Act: Impact on the Indiana Market

Seema covered several areas of penalties coming out of the ACA, including both the individual and employer mandate. The penalty for the individual mandate is low to begin with and going up over time, with there being some exemptions from the mandate such as religion.

The employer mandate will really affect those with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees. Employers could be subject to penalties if full-time employees receive premium tax credit. Employers will be very cautious about not expanding beyond 50 employees, causing potential issues in the business world.

What does the market look like in 2019?
There could be a huge rise in public programs, specifically with the Medicaid expansion. More and more employers will be dropping insurance programs and we will see a rise in individual insurance plans.

There will be several upcoming changes to the insurance market, some of which will limit insurance companies profits and also the increase in health insurance premiums.

With a community rating premiums will be based on age, location, and smoking status, no pre-existing condition exclusion allowed. Those that are healthier will be faced with higher rates, while lose who are less healthy will face lower premium rates.

Seema discussed several key facets surrounding the upcoming healthcare exchanges next year. One of the early concerns with the exchanges was that the ACA mandates that each states’ exchange offer at least 2 multi-state plans.

She noted in her slides that the key challenges for exchanges will include:

  • Federal government running the majority of exchanges
  • Exchanges begin enrollments starting October this year
  • Defined open enrollment periods
  • Interfaces between states and exchange yet to be established or tested
  • Will they lower costs?
  • How will insurers participate?

The biggest “Crystal Ball Prediction?”:
It will take several years to fully understand the impact of the ACA.

Future of Public Health in Indiana
Dr. William VanNess, State Health Commissioner

Core Values and practices for Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) include:

  • Health promotion and prevention
  • Vaccines-providing for those who cant’ afford
  • Equitable care throughout community health centers
  • Vital records
  • Health protection. ISDH is going to great lengths to make sure that water, indoor air and food are all clean
  • Collaboration with local health departments
  • Data collection, analysis and information dissemination

Governor Pence told the ISDH to read Good to Great by Jim Collins and check to see that they were on the right track for the next five years. Dr. VanNess set out to find what still works and what needs to change. His team got together, went through the book and found several areas they wanted to focus on in the state of Indiana.

Infant mortality was one of the biggest concerns that jumped out to Dr.VanNess. He delved in and looked at what was causing such a high infant mortality rate and found several factors that led to it and set about to correct. He visited several counties comparing numbers and found that an Amish county had less than a 2% infant mortality rate.

Creating a healthy Indiana overall was another goal that came out of the five year plan and to do so, it really comes down to lifestyle choices. Obesity and smoking are huge health concerns within the state, and again, it came down to lifestyle choices and setting out to educate patients in order to change that.

A final piece included in their five year plan was the immunization rate of 19-35 month olds. With the implementation of CHIRP, hospitals and physician efforts to meet a requirement in Stage 1 of meaningful use will be aided.

Future of Public Health in Indiana:
We still don’t know everything that the Affordable Care Act is going to bring. There are roughly 2,000 blanks that still need to be filled in with ACA.

About Indiana HIMSS
The Indiana Chapter of HIMSS is one of over forty affiliated chapters of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the largest health care information systems professional organization in the nation. Our purpose is to bring health care professionals together to promote the exchange of experiences and knowledge among colleagues, and to assist members in their professional growth. We accomplish this objective by presenting educational seminars/conferences, networking opportunities, and a forum for the exchange of ideas among those committed to the goal of improving patient care through the effective use of information technology.

Chapter members come from diverse backgrounds, all involved in some aspect of health care information systems and management. Our members consist of professionals from hospitals and clinical organizations, third-party payors, administrators, information technology vendors, consultants, management engineers, telecommunications professionals, physicians, nurses and medical informatics professionals – essentially anyone interested in the trends of health care information and management systems.

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