The healthcare industry is constantly changing, with advances in technology and medicine happening daily. However, as this year comes to a close, there are several big trends we’ll be watching at Solomon McCown that affect our clients, the industry, and society as a whole.
Recently, the Senate approved legislation that would repeal President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act, as well as halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood. While this may be a complex legislative strategy of the Republicans, a repeal could have significant consequences for the healthcare industry, with millions of Americans losing coverage. Since the current enrollment period started in November, 1 million new Americans have enrolled in Obamacare, signifying how important this law is. While President Obama recently signed a budget compromise which preserves Planned Parenthood funding and blocks the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, we would expect to see these types of efforts continue into the next Congress. In 2016, we will be watching to see what, if any, legislative changes take place and how this will affect the healthcare industry as well as consumers.
New England and other parts of the country are currently facing a large heroin problem. There have been so many overdoses in the past year that the White House has stepped in to provide funding, and towns across New England are implementing plans to help reduce the number of addicts. Schools, police officers, and even drug users themselves now carry Narcan, a drug that can instantly reverse an overdose, in case of emergency.
This epidemic has also sparked an important conversation about the best way to provide treatment for addicts: rehab or prison. Those in the recovery community and others are speaking out to say that the most beneficial way to treat addiction is not with jail time or isolating addicts from society, but to give them support and an environment in which they can recover and eliminate the desire to return to drug use.
In the new year, we will be watching to see which of these initiatives are successful in reducing the number of opioid-related deaths and how they may be expanded upon to stop the epidemic.
ICD-10 is a system used by physicians and other healthcare providers to code diagnoses, symptoms, and procedures for patients in hospitals and physician practices. Although the official switch occurred on October 1, many healthcare organizations are still in the process of implementing this new system, taking steps to ensure a smooth transition and deal with potential interoperability issues.
In the coming months, we will be watching to see how various healthcare organizations are impacted. While technical issues have been minimal thus far, the ongoing transition bears watching.
What issues will your healthcare organization follow closely in 2016? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter!