UPDATE: An agreement reached for continuing funding has ensured that normal collection and dissemination of federal healthcare data will continue through at least the upcoming October update of CarePrecise data packages.
Discussion of a government shutdown that could affect the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – a primary source for U.S. healthcare data – has raised concerns that the regular updates of CarePrecise datasets may be impacted. Our pledge is to provide the most recent data as released from our sources, which are largely within The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Postal Service, among other government agencies. Should a government shutdown occur, it was announced a few days ago that a large portion – perhaps 42% – of personnel in the HHS will be furloughed. In this event, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare are not expected to be impacted from the perspectives of most patients, providers, and payers, beyond brief delays in reimbursements. However, it is not known at this time how the furloughs will affect processes related to delivery of healthcare data updates. Should any delays occur, CarePrecise will alert all of our data subscribers with what we know.
It is important to point out that there have been 21 government shutdowns since the days of the Ford Administration, and four of these have taken place since CarePrecise began leveraging federal data for the benefit of our customers. The longest, and perhaps most dramatic of these, was the seventeen-day shutdown that occurred in October 2013. No impact on CarePrecise data delivery was felt during any of these previous shutdowns. We note also that much of the responsibility for data production within the federal government falls to contractors. In many, if not most, cases, contractor agreements will not immediately be affected, and work may be expected to continue.
The criticality of current, accurate, standardized data in healthcare has sustained strong bipartisan support since the leadership of HHS Secretary Louis W. Sullivan in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.
It is also noteworthy that, since its founding in the 2008/2009 federal fiscal year, CarePrecise has never missed a data distribution. Whatever happens, CarePrecise will distribute the data as soon as digitally possible.