HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT Affordable Care Act health care reform?
The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but it’s a big step toward improving care and lowering costs in the $2.6 trillion U.S. health care industry, says Metro Health Chief Financial Officer Tim Susterich.
“I think this is at least a start to begin the process of revamping a health care system that is unsustainable,” he said.
“You can’t get perfection out of the gate. But I believe this is a step toward changing the way we provide health care in the future.”
For hospitals, change will be a fact of life, regardless of what happens politically with the Affordable Care Act, officials say.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the health care reform law “was a monumental event, but it wasn’t the beginning,” Susterich said. “That began some time ago.”
Providing more people with coverage for routine health care can lower costs by preventing serious problems that require intensive, costly treatment, he said.
“Under this program, it’s going to be more about managing care and providing preventive care and make sure people have access at the appropriate time and appropriate place,” he said.
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For patients who have suffered a catastrophic illness or injury, the Affordable Care Act will make a big difference in obtaining insurance, said Dr. Chris VandenBerg, of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital.
“So many people who are disabled lose their jobs and are unable to continue to have health care through their employers,” said VandenBerg, the medical director for program and network development. “And they have needs that need to be addressed, particularly from a functional standpoint.”
Under the law, insurers are not allowed to deny coverage to patients because of pre-existing conditions. And the insurance exchanges will provide better access and more competitive options to insurance, he said. Also, more people will qualify for Medicaid.
With the act’s emphasis on providing care to a population and rewarding quality, it is spurring hospitals and other health care providers to work more closely together, VandenBerg added.
“There are aspects of this Affordable Care Act that are making us do our job better,” he said. “I think it’s really pushed health care systems to rethink how we approach patient care.”
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