More than three years have passed since President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law and it is of course still a big topic of concern for all healthcare providers alike. As a healthcare provider myself, I researched what this meant for my own agency. I wanted to discuss the three main reasons this piece of legislation affects us as providers.
1. It cuts Medicare provider reimbursements
The ACA is going to cut a total of $716 billion from Medicare program. The intent is to redistribute the funds back into the program, however even just the time it would take to reallocate would greatly affect provider reimbursement for a few years. Providers will see, or have already seen, the effects of reimbursement cuts which in turn will limit the amount of Medicare patients they choose to take on. It will also greatly affect those providers that thrive on federal reimbursements and may even force smaller providers out of business.
2. Gives way to physician shortages
The ACA will bring about dramatic changes to the delivery of healthcare which turns physicians off. Physicians will no longer be able to provide the kind of care they want to give their patients because of all of the added compliance. There are already so many regulations that govern healthcare but in the next few years, all providers will have to succumb to dramatic changes such as the implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHR). Physicians specifically will have changes to Physician Quality Reporting System which will impose penalties on unsatisfactory measures of quality care. These are just a couple of the changes providers will need to implement but there are so much more that we need to change to adhere to the new regulations. This alone will deter physicians from practicing let alone encourage anyone from pursuing a career in medicine.
3. Hinders quality patient care
And all of this will of course affect patient care. Providers will be so overwhelmed with compliance issues, reimbursement cut backs, and internal changes that the focus will no longer be on the patients themselves. These changes affect us all and we can only take so much before it starts to affect the patients we see. In the next few years, the personal time physicians, nurses or even administrative workers spend with the patients will be focused on learning new processes instead of truly educating and performing patient care.
In the face of so much change, it is impossible not to believe that this will affect our patients but we all have a responsibility to still carry out what we first set out to do. The ACA has given Americans the opportunity to receive affordable healthcare, however there should be more done to assist the providers that carry out those services.
Aside from all of this, I have found that it is a time for health providers to really change the way our businesses are run. There are so many old practices that people follow simply because they are too lazy to change but now we have more reasons to streamline the processes that run our healthcare practices. How has your company adjusted to the change?