Dr. Price resigns as HHS secretary: 3 health IT implications

HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, resigned Friday after reports revealed he used taxpayer dollars to pay for private jets on multiple occasions.

President Donald Trump has appointed Deputy Assistant Health Secretary Don Wright, MD, as acting HHS secretary.

Here are three implications Dr. Price's resignation has for health IT, as reported in Politico Morning eHealth.

1. Dr. Price's experience as a physician influenced how he handled health IT programs and accountable care. "[Dr.] Price represented his specialty well in his interactions with the health IT community," former acting ONC chief Jacob Reider, MD, told Politico. "Orthopedists had no appreciation for meaningful use and didn't agree with many of the program's principles, such as holding all providers accountable for things like monitoring blood pressure and smoking status … We don't know who his successor will be, but I think for health IT this could be a good thing."

2. The transition from fee-for-service to value-based care, which Dr. Price was not a fan of, is not going away, Nancy Nielsen, MD, PhD, a health policy expert at the New York-based University of Buffalo, told Politico. "The only question is the speed at which it happens, and an HHS Secretary can influence that by resuming Medicare bundled payment efforts ... or not."

3. Under a new secretary, EHR vendors could see some relief. Dr. Price eased a number of requirements for physicians, which delayed health IT timelines and affected EHR deployment plans, Leigh Burchell, vice president of government affairs and public policy for Chicago-based Allscripts, told Politico. "[The] increased flexibility and reporting options for our clients means code complexity on our end."

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