As the Affordable Care Act begins to be implemented, it is imperative that providers become educated on how they will be affected by the new legislation. Many providers will be pleased with many positive changes that can help improve the care provided to patients as well as the business end of the organization.
Some positive changes include:
Changes in policy as a result of the Affordable Care Act should mean less paperwork for provider administrators. In addition, an increase in the use of technology means that electronic health records should be more widespread and accessible. This also means less paperwork as well as improved care for patients. As hospitals, specialists and primary care providers are all able to access the same patient information, overall care should improve.
Better Assurance of Payment
Because the Affordable Care Act will effectively increase the amount of insured Americans by about 30 million, there will be far fewer uninsured patients. This change means more providers will receive pay for their services, and in a timely manner. Additionally, because patients will be able to afford medical care as a result of being insured, more preventative care can take place and, theoretically, reduce the instances of emergency care. Also, patients will be able to seek the specialist care that they need following a hospital admission, and follow up with primary care providers, thereby reducing the number of readmissions.
Investments in Resources
The Affordable Care Act also calls for greater allocation of resources to communities to improve the prevention and care of chronic diseases. Particular focuses are on resources that providers can recommend so that patients can improve health with support by quitting smoking or losing weight.
Better Medicare Benefits
Medicare is made stronger by the Affordable Care Act which preserves the ability for the insured to access preventative care services and provides for annual well visits. Prescriptions coverage is improved as well, and under the Act seniors will receive a greater rebate. These changes ensure that providers can recommend and provide care without the fear that they will not be paid or that the patient cannot afford it.
In order to expand care in under-served areas, the Affordable Care Act provides resources to support the creation of facilities which provide care via trained nurse practitioners. The act also provides resources to help train nurse practitioners.
New models of care will help providers to coordinate care and to provide higher quality service to patients. In particular, bonuses will be provided by Medicare to those who doctors and surgeons who qualify and provide top notch care. Medicare will largely target bonuses toward those who provide care in areas that are under-served.
The Affordable Care Act also provides funding to help to train more individuals to support the goal of the act to provide increasingly better care.
More primary care physicians and assistants will be able to seek scholarships and student loans forgiveness in order to boost the number of highly trained physicians. This is extremely important considering the increased number of patients that will be entering the system seeking care once insured.
Overall, the Affordable Care Act is intended to help both patients and providers and is providing resources that should help to improve care as well as the administration of that care.