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Q&A with David Fisher

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | January 23, 2015
David Fisher
Ebola, the continued rollout of the health care insurance marketplaces and hospital data breaches were a few of the stories that dominated headlines in 2014. But now that 2014 has come to a close and we've entered into 2015, we wonder what will get the most attention this year.

DOTmed News had the opportunity to discuss the top news stories for 2015 with David Fisher, vice president of health care policy and strategy at Siemens Healthcare.

DOTmed News: What do you think will be the top news stories for 2015?

DF: The Affordable Care Act will be one of the top issues, especially how this second enrollment period goes. I think we will also get a lot of information from 2014 about enrollment and utilization.

It will be interesting, especially with regards to things like health care expenditures. We will be able to see whether the expenditures have increased or not.

The second, which is the biggest on our side, is lung cancer screening. It's going to begin to roll out in the beginning of the year, as the 2015 plan year begins with private health insurers and Medicare will also be paying for it sometime in 2015 after CMS makes its final decision.

The third thing I would put into that bucket is the evolution towards value-based health care and how that will continue. Two years ago ACOs were the big thing but it's all really experiments because we don't know if they're going to improve quality and reduce costs. We're going to get the results from those experiments to find out how ACOs work.

The last big news story will be the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The bill has to pass on March 31 and what that bill does, whether it's a complete repeal of the SGR or another one year extension is of course critical to our customers.

DOTmed News: What is the biggest challenge in health care as a whole right now?

DF: People are getting older and therefore consuming more health care. That trend began in 1946 and isn't going to change for the next 20 years.

The increase in per patient expenditures in health care has exceeded gross domestic product. Over the last five years, there has been a moderation in the growth in health care spending and if that continues, the unsustainability problem will either be greatly reduced or limited.

If that's not true and we go back to the previous growth rates, then we have to figure out a way to change the way we provide health care in order to prevent that spending growth.

DOTmed News: How can we meet the challenge of the growing aging population in the U.S.?

DF: I think that value-based care is the latest way that our health care system is trying to solve that. However, we don't know if it will work.

There is this unusual blip of low growth rates over the last five years that no one can explain. We've thrown something at the wall to see if it will stick but we don't know yet if it will.

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