July 2nd, 2012
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic June 28 decision upholding the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), healthcare organizations across the country can expect to see an increase in patient volume over the next few years. Now, hospitals, physicians and other providers have clear guidance from Washington to guide their strategic planning for the next few years. While it’s possible that the act could be repealed by a Republican-controlled Congress after the November election, healthcare organizations should ramp up their preparations for the law’s impact.
Certainly, the ACA will make it easier for millions of Americans to access the healthcare system. It requires individuals to have health insurance – the so-called individual mandate – either through an employer or a state-sponsored exchange. It also prevents insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions, and requires them to cover preventative care without additional costs.
So, the big question is what will happen when all those newly insured Americans arrive at a hospital, clinic or physician office. Will there be enough physicians, PAs, nurses and other professionals to provide quality care? How can healthcare organizations minimize waiting times and provide cost-effective diagnostic and treatment services?
To cope with the increased demand, healthcare providers will need to review their staffing arrangements and operational procedures. That could mean expanding the facility to include more examination rooms, or it might mean extending office hours to accommodate more patients in the existing space. Providers should also consider their staffing options, including temporary, part-time or full-time employees. As the healthcare landscape evolves, All Medical Personnel’s staffing services can provide a valuable resource in this strategic planning process.
March 5th, 2012
In just a few weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Since its passage in 2010, the far-reaching federal act has been challenged by 26 states and a number of business organizations. Now, the court will hear more than six hours of oral arguments on March 26-28, deliberate for perhaps a month or longer, and then issue its decision.
Whatever the outcome, the Supreme Court ruling will have a profound impact on the nation’s healthcare system, impacting patient access to care, insurance, reimbursement, staffing, technology and other issues affecting the livelihoods of physicians, hospitals and other providers.
If the court upholds the act – or at least some of its provisions – approximately 16 million more Americans will have Medicaid coverage beginning in 2014. Since only about two-thirds of physicians now accept Medicaid patients, those providers will need to make plans to increase their staffing to address that higher demand. Another 16 million Americans would be eligible for health insurance coverage in 2014 through the “individual mandate,” again increasing patient demand for healthcare services.
On the other hand, the court could agree with the act’s opponents, who call it an overreach of federal authority, and strike down the entire act, or some of its provisions. That could put more regulatory power back in the hands of the states, and undoubtedly leading to more litigation in the future. It’s also possible that the court could decide to wait until 2014, when the act’s provisions go into effect, before tackling some or all of the substantive issues. In any case, this spring will be a momentous time for U.S. healthcare providers, who are hoping for a court decision that shows them a clear path forward.