CMS has issued the proposed rule under national health reform to implement Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) for Medicare beneficiaries. ACOs are a new way of paying for health care, moving away from fee-for-service to paying for value. An ACO is a network of health care providers spanning the care spectrum paid to provide for all the needs of their patients. The proposed rule has been controversial for many reasons, but a less noticed provision includes an erosion of patient privacy protections. The proposal would allow CMS and providers to share sensitive medical information unless the patient chooses to opt-out of the system. The proposed opt-out process is unrealistic and would be very difficult for many Medicare beneficiaries to access. Unfortunately, it is very likely that the first time many patients learn that their information is being shared will be after a breach. The CT Health Policy Project submitted comments to CMS yesterday opposing this provision of the proposed rule.
Slides on the extensive changes coming to CT’s Medicaid program are online. The slides were part of a talk for the Community Health Center Association of CT’s board member conference this weekend.