Thursday, September 1, 2016

Unintended Consequences

It is always amazing to see how our Government has no idea what unintended, I hope, consequences are of the massive sets of rules and regulations.

Medicare under CMS has the Social Security number of the individual on the card. It is your ID number once you fall under their control. It is also a source of consumer fraud. Especially in Healthcare, when staff who are not background checked, under paid and not bonded rip off the patients.

So along comes Government and says "turn on a dime" and change everything. Like SSA who decided every 6%+ person had a smart phone with text messaging and the costs for that were zero, after all the Government gives free ones away to the "underprivileged" and to Government employees, so why not the taxpayers as well, and this change blocked access to SSI data sites.

Now with this "security" change it will costs billions to change data in physician offices, insurers, third party processors, pharmacies and the list goes on. It is the OCD 10 for Medicare payments.

As Modern Healthcare notes:

The CMS is getting to work on replacing Social Security numbers as identifiers for 150 million Medicare recipients, both living and dead. By the end of 2019 the agency intends to use randomly generated identifiers instead of the health insurance claim number, composed of a Social Security number plus one or two letters. The proposed new ID will have seven numeric and four alphabetical characters. This is happening because Congress, in the 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, gave the CMS four years to issue cards to Medicare beneficiaries that don't have Social Security numbers printed on them. The provision is intended to make seniors less vulnerable to identity theft. Some industry stakeholders, however, are already griping that the way the Obama administration is carrying out the mandate will further stratify the flow of healthcare data. The planned conversion requires reprogramming 75 complex legacy information technology systems that the CMS and its contractors use to process Medicare claims, according to the agency. It would also mean updating hundreds of thousands of private-sector computers that handle healthcare claims. The users will include hospitals, physician practices, claims clearinghouses, billing companies, post-acute providers and Medicare Advantage carriers. A CMS spokesman said the agency would solicit input from the industry “at various points throughout the project to ensure a smooth transition that maintains beneficiaries' access to care while avoiding disruptions to the payment process.”

First this applies to the 50 million alive plus 100 million dead. Yes dead! The cost would be astronomical.