The Affordable Health Care Act

After a few weeks I am following up on the last topic we discussed at the Executive Assembly, The Affordable Health Care Act.  Our two presenters on this topic were Rich Kennedy, Senior Associate Dean for Research, Stritch School of Medicine, Vice President for Health Science Research, Loyola Health System; and Cristal Thomas, Regional Director, Region V Office of the Secretary U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Cristal provided an overview of the Affordable Healthcare Act; some changes went into effect on September 23, 2010, and the remainder will go into effect in 2014. In general, the Affordable Healthcare Act:

  • Will strengthen private coverage and provide more consumer protection
  • Will expand the number of people who are covered
  • Will decrease costs by moving from quantity to quality of healthcare

The Affordable Healthcare Act will strengthen private coverage through insurance market reforms, extension of dependent coverage and through tax credits for small business.  The Act will expand Medicaid coverage and improve provider rates and create health insurance exchanges.  Ms. Thomas was unable to make her slides available; however, for more in-depth information about the Affordable Healthcare Act, go to www.HealthCare.gov.

In Rich Kennedy began his presentation by indicating that no one really knows for sure what the impact of the Affordable Healthcare Bill will be, it is just too early.  (Rich Kennedy’s slides are available on my blog on UPCEAconnect.) However, Rich did offer some insights based on his own reading and his conversations with colleagues leading allied healthcare colleges.  While Rich reminded us it is too early to make predictions he went out on a limb and suggested the following:

  • Increases in Pharmacists and graduates in this area
  • Increases in the role in prevention/wellness procedures
  • Continued gap in registered nurses
  • Increases in nurse practitioners
  • Increase use of “medical home” concept
  • Increases in primary care physician “extenders
  • Possible degree evaluation

The impact of the Affordable Healthcare Act according to Ms. Thomas will be:

  • Investment in primary care physicians, physician assistants, and nurses
  • Stress on preventive care
  • Greater use of electronic records

In addition there will be grant opportunities available from the federal government in areas such as improving curricula, mental and behavioral health training, and training of nurses and geriatric specialists.  For more information on grant opportunities go to www.HealthCare.gov/center/grants.

These presentations were extremely helpful in better understanding not only the Affordable Healthcare Act but also understanding what the ramifications will be for our universities and our units.  From my perspective, the implications for our units are that we have the opportunity to provide leadership for our institutions in several areas:

•Leadership in program development, programming in
–Informatics
–Primary care
–Health care accountability
–Information about the Health Care Act
•Leadership in pursuing grant opportunities
•Leadership in monitoring/understanding legislation

–Reaching out to Regional HHS Directors
–Monitoring professional societies (e.g., American Physical Therapy Association, American Occupational Therapy Association)

–Working on analyses

Finally, many thanks to all of our Executive Assembly presenters and to all who attended the event.  I hope you found these overviews helpful, and I look forward to continuing these conversations as we move forward.

 

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