Friday, October 12, 2012

A Guest Post: The Future of Obamacare if Romney’s Elected

Guest Post:

Title: 5 Tips for Physicians Preparing for the ACA

As election day approaches, the future of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is a hot topic among politicians, healthcare professionals and politicians alike. However, the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election is unlikely to have an impact on the ACA.

David Fried, contributor to Software Advice, argues a victory by either Obama or Romney means the ACA, in the most part, is here to stay. To help physicians he provides 5 ways to effectively prepare for the impact of the ACA.

1. Decide How to Address Medicare and Medicaid
The decision to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients becomes even more difficult, as the ability to offset costs becomes increasingly difficult for physicians. With almost a quarter trillion dollars in Medicare and Medicare Advantage payments expected, physicians should begin to act now rather than later and addressing how to accept new patients.

2. Consider Relocating to a Rural Area
Ever wanted to relocate away from the big city? Now might be the time. The ACA rewards physicians that serve patients in what it calls “underserved areas” in the form of loan repayments and doctor scholarships. This is a great option for young doctors considering where to establish a new practice, as well.

3. Prepare for Bundled Payments
Soon, government payers will be transition to the “bundled payments” system, rather than paying physicians, labs and hospitals directly. This means that to receive payments for a patient, you may have to work with the hospital billing staff, rather than Medicare directly. Another consideration is to look into Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs. These groups of physicians coordinate group-care to bring down the cost of care for patients, for which the physicians receive half of the savings.

4. Take a Firm Stance on Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
If physicians are interested in receiving Medicare reimbursements and don’t yet have an EHR, they’ll need to move quickly. The ACA increases the requirements for patient reporting necessary to be compensated seeing government payers. Alternatively, physicians can decide to deny seeing these patients.

5. Extend Office and Practice Capabilities
The ACA will impact the number of patients that physicians will see in three ways. First, the ACA will extend coverage to 32 million additional Americans. Second, it requires insurance companies to cover more preventive care procedures. Third, it specifically prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage of pre-existing conditions. Thus, physicians could prepare to see more patients. One way they can do this is by extending hours. Another is by adding additional physicians to the practice’s staff.

Research for this post was conducted by David Fried and Software Advice.