MACRA Medicare Update Fails Patients, Doctors, and Startups

October 21, 2016 - 2 minutes read

The Los Angeles app development community has been cautiously optimistic the past few weeks about the outcome of this year’s long-awaited updates to MACRA (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act).

In partnership with ACT The App Association and dozens of other leading tech companies across the country, we submitted detailed comments and research to back up the need for more forward-thinking regulatory approaches to the medical industry.

With that in mind, we are particularly disappointed to see that the new document essentially ignored input from tech companies, sticking with a broken 15-year-old “Telehealth” definition.

Morgan Reed, president of CHI, released a statement that “…we are disappointed to conclude that CMS’ recently-released MACRA rule does little to embrace the power of connected health tech to advance patient care … precluding the vast majority of innovative connected health technologies available today.”

Reed went on to reassure those disappointed by the outcome that CHI will continue to fight on their behalf to improve the Medicare system.

The final MACRA document is expected to be the bedrock of the patient reimbursement system in coming years, so this governmental failure isn’t just disappointing to app developers and startup founders — it’s disappointing to patients who need and rely on next-generation remote monitoring devices and other tech advances for protecting their well-being.

The use of such devices have been shown to be particularly life-changing among older patients. Our suspicion is that if the underwriters of this policy had seen the positive effects forward-thinking “telehealth” tech can have on the lives of Alzheimers patients, they would have thought twice about creating what is, effectively, a lazy rulebook.

In spite of this letdown, we expect that eHealth app startups will continue creating revolutionary medical products in coming years. It’s truly unfortunate that it will be this much difficult to get them in the hands of those who need them most.

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