Repeal of ACA: Potential Effect on Healthcare Organizations

With the change of U.S. administration, we can expect certain healthcare regulations to be affected.  Currently the main proposition is to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  From an IT standpoint, this would not reduce the responsibilities of healthcare providers to secure patient data.  HITECH Act and the resulting HIPAA Omnibus Rule expanded security and privacy provisions along with enforcement, enacted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) instead of the healthcare bill itself.  While it is yet to be seen if they will undo the ACA, most of the direct impact would concern insurance providers and their interaction with customers.

Assuming repeal takes place as planned, it is notable the ACA included Section 1557, Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities, which went into effect October 16th, 2016.  Covered in one of our previous articles, much of this was redundant with existing civil rights statutes, and there is little evidence to indicate discrimination of this nature was not already being reprimanded.  On the other hand, this outlined accommodations for patients of transgender classification, so they would need to consider reenacting some stipulations from that aspect of the law.  Also Section 1557 set guidelines obliging Covered Entities to have methods available to provide timely, high-quality translations for foreign languages appropriate to their jurisdiction.  Regardless of the legal climate, programs/applications are available at little cost that can allow a healthcare provider to offer adequate translations from a practical standpoint, so practices should continue providing anyway, as a matter of good business.

As of last October, EHR 2.0 began including a module in our staff training to ensure personnel became familiar with latest provisions.  We will continue to make any adjustments to our training courses and compliance assessments to reflect the latest regulatory requirements.  If anyone has questions about how they are affected, you are welcome to contact for consulting.

At EHR 2.0 we assist healthcare organizations and business associates develop and implement practices to secure patient data, and comply with HIPAA/HITECH regulations and MACRA programs. Contact us at 866-276-8309 or for more information.

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Our mission is to assist healthcare organizations and business associates in the development, design, and implementation of practices to secure IT systems and comply with HIPAA/HITECH privacy, security, breach and enforcement rules by protecting patient health information.


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