Sebelius: Focus is on reform implementation

25 Apr 2012 10:53 AM | Anonymous
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated the administration's position that it does not have a contingency plan ready should the U.S. Supreme Court rule this summer that the 2010 healthcare-reform law is unconstitutional.

"We're confident that the law is constitutional and we are moving forward with implementation," Sebelius said after her keynote address at the Atlantic's Health Care Forum in Washington. "In the event that there is a different ruling, we'll be ready, but at this point, our energy is really focused on continuing to make sure that people know about the benefits and take advantage of what's out there," she said, adding that part of the planning now centers on making sure states are prepared when most of the law's provisions take effect in 2014.

In a panel discussion moments later, Dr. Farzad Mostashari, HHS' national coordinator for health information technology, echoed the secretary's remarks when he saidundefinedand later repeatedundefinedthat the administration is confident the law is constitutional and is moving forward to implement it.

Adding a provider perspective, Dr. Timothy Ferris, medical director at Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, said the uncertainty surrounding the law's fate has made work more difficult for physicians. For example, he said, it's difficult to convince a CFO to invest in innovation improvement if the CFO prefers to wait until the high court issues its ruling. Even so, his organizationundefinedwhich was named a Pioneer accountable care organization Jan. 1undefinedhas made some significant changes pertaining to the law in the past three months.

"We've reorganized our management structure; we've started shifting the way we invest in our infrastructure; and we're changing the way we pay our doctors," said Ferris, who also participated in the panel discussion. "Those kinds of things take time. Those kinds of things take years before the implications of those changes play out."

Read more: Sebelius: Focus is on reform implementation - Healthcare business news and research | Modern Healthcare 

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