Today’s Supreme Court decision finding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) constitutional will have a significant impact on healthcare delivery in the United States.
While the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) did not support the passage of national healthcare reform legislation, largely because it did not address the sustainability of the Medicare and Medicaid programs and tort reform, MSNJ has a long history of supporting access to both affordable healthcare and affordable healthcare insurance.
Earlier this year, MSNJ supported the creation of a Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange) in New Jersey. This could increase competition and remove barriers in the healthcare insurance market so that more uninsured New Jersey residents may purchase affordable healthcare insurance with transparent terms. We stand ready to work with the Governor and the New Jersey Legislature to establish a robust Exchange. MSNJ fully supports expanding the availability of affordable healthcare insurance to our residents.
We are pleased for our patients that key provisions of the ACA, supported by MSNJ, were upheld by the Court including:
The elimination of pre-existing conditions as a barrier to coverage;
- The right of parents to insure their children on their existing policies up to age 26; and
- The elimination of maximum life-time caps on benefits.
MSNJ continues to have concerns about whether New Jersey has the physician capacity to treat all patients who will become eligible for Medicaid with expanded eligibility requirements. Because New Jersey has among the lowest payment rates for Medicaid in the nation, together with the highest practice costs, there is already a shortage of physicians who treat Medicaid patients. Expansion of the insured population through the Exchange and Medicaid will worsen the physician shortage. We will further analyze the Court’s opinion and work with the Governor and the Legislature to address the needs of our state’s neediest population.
MSNJ is a tireless advocate for a sustainable Medicare program. We have advocated for a repeal of the broken funding and payment formula. We know that the cost of caring for our seniors must be reduced and we intend to be part of the solution by providing quality, cost-effective, coordinated care. MSNJ supports physician-led integrated care models to provide cost efficient, quality care.
MSNJ Member in the News: “New Brunswick & Lumberton Physicians Share Health IT Story in the Nation’s Capital”
Now that Drs. Frank Sonnenberg, Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group, and Kennedy Ganti, Virtua Lumberton Family Physicians, have successfully implemented their electronic health record (EHR) systems, they are ready to share with the rest of our nation’s healthcare community how this technology has improved patient care. Dr. Sonnenberg (New Brunswick, NJ) and Dr. Ganti (Lumberton, NJ) are two of 82 healthcare providers from across the country whose progress in health IT will be recognized by the White House and Health and Human Services (HHS) at two events in Washington, D.C. on June 18-19, 2012.
NJ Health IT Coordinator, Colleen Woods, acknowledges, “Dr. Ganti and Dr. Sonnenberg are two of our great Health IT leaders in New Jersey. They are remarkable physicians who saw the benefit of EHR’s early on, and seized the opportunity to improve their patients’ care. They are an inspiration to all of us working in healthcare.”
The New Jersey Health Information Technology Extension Center’s (NJ-HITEC) Executive Director, Bill O’Byrne adds, “NJ-HITEC is very proud of the hard work and excellent example that Drs. Sonnenberg and Ganti have set in the community of doctors. They have earned this distinction and we celebrate in their achievements that advance the timely delivery of high quality medical care to the people of this State. It should also be noted that these two fine doctors are also representatives of the thousands of doctors that are NJ-HITEC members that have also committed to improving the delivery of healthcare to their patients through the use of health information technology.”
The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is hosting a Health IT Vanguard Conference in which a variety of health care professionals will share lessons learned in adopting and implementing electronic health records. As designated MUVers, Dr. Sonnenberg, Dr. Ganti, and others of the Meaningful Use Vanguard (MUVers) will discuss solutions for a variety of health IT barriers, including privacy and security and the challenges of building systems that can “talk to each other.” Some will discuss ways of leveraging health IT to promote better health in communities. MUVers throughout the country have been recognized for their leadership in local efforts that will eventually move the nation toward an electronically enabled healthcare system.
Dr. Sonnenberg explains, “One of the biggest challenges we face in the implementation of healthcare information technology is the disconnect from providers who are using a different types of EHR technology. Even if two physicians are using the same technology, there can still be difficulties in sharing information. We need to discuss and adopt a universal interchange.”
Dr. Ganti adds, “Meaningful Use is the single most important initiative since President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs in the 1960’s. The ability to view and harness the vast amounts of health information through EHR technology assists doctors in providing true comprehensive care. Moreover, my patients leave with their personal healthcare summary so they can review what was discussed during their visit. This is so important because in the 10 to 15 minutes that a patient spends with a doctor, so much information is reviewed. The patient healthcare summary provides the status of an individual’s health, past and current medication lists as well as referral information to further engage a person in his/her healthcare management.
At the White House Health IT Town Hall on June 19, senior White House and HHS officials will discuss progress and barriers to a national Health IT system with MUVers in attendance. In addition to discussing the Meaningful Use of EHRs, providers will share their insight on the important role that Health IT programs, such as the Regional Extension Centers (RECs), have played in helping them implement EHR technology. Over 132,000 primary care providers, almost half in the country, are partnering with RECs to overcome the significant barriers that primary care and rural providers face in EHR adoption.
O’Byrne states, “We are the Garden State’s sole Regional Extension Center working with providers to assist them in achieving Meaningful Use. With a membership close to 6,000, we have assisted over 835 providers successfully achieve Meaningful Use. These providers have received over $15 million federal incentives. We are committed to a health IT and assisting our members improve healthcare in New Jersey through EHR technology.”
NJ-HITEC is the primary care provider’s trusted advisor in the timely delivery of high quality healthcare through the selection, implementation, and achievement of Meaningful Use of an accredited Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) system. NJ-HITEC is the federally designated Regional Extension Center (REC) for New Jersey established by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and funded through the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To learn more about NJ-HITEC or to become a member, visit us at http://www.njhitec.org or call (973) 642-4055.
NJ-HITEC Media Contact: Denise Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 732-618-3867.