Five Healthcare Topics to Watch in 2017
As we find ourselves at the mid-point of the year, there has been a myriad of developments in the health care industry, including the imminent debate on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since there seems to be no shortage of industry storylines, let’s look at five key healthcare topics to keep an eye on through the rest of 2017.
Mergers & Acquisitions. Over the past few years, one of the most surprising trends in the healthcare industry is the number of mergers and acquisitions. Since 2015 there have been 214 hospital transactions of which almost 75% involving nonprofit hospital buyers. The healthcare market volatility is driving much of the action as more organizations struggle to maintain financial viability in the rapidly evolving landscape. It bears watching to see if this trend continues into 2018 or if changes in legislation slow the volatility.
Value-based Payment Models. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations continue to transition to value-based care delivery. Nationwide, almost 50% of reimbursements are related to some form of value metric. The challenge has proven to be in the conversion over to these more complex mechanisms for payment, even though the intended results are reducing administrative costs and the costs of care. Surprisingly in a 2015 report, the Government Accountability Office concluded that value-based programs had minimal impact on Medicare payments and no change in the quality of care.
Accountable Care Organizations. ACOs are a byproduct of the Affordable Care Act and are intended to be an integrated care model reducing costs while improving the quality of care. As of 2016, there were close to 1,000 ACOs in the United States. According to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services report, coordinated care in the ACO environment has generated financial savings and improved care for Medicare beneficiaries. The report also revealed that ACOs perform better over time as processes and collaborations are developed and refined.
Physician Shortages. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that by 2025 there may be a shortage of up to 90,000 physicians in the U.S., with up to 35,000 being in primary care. Factors contributing to the shortage are the numbers of physicians who are leaving their practice due to retirement, dissatisfaction with unwieldy legislation, and burnout. Nearly 50% of all physicians report frequent feelings of burnout with many attributing part of their stress to burdensome Electronic Health Records and ICD-10 requirements taking time away from patient care.
Hospital Acquired Conditions. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported a 17% decline in “hospital acquired conditions” between 2010 and 2014. HACs refer to adverse drug events, central line infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and surgical site infections among others. HHS also reported a reduction of 87,000 patient deaths and over $19 billion in care savings because of the HAC improvement during the same time period. The ACA implemented penalties on hospitals that fail to reduce HAC rates versus similar facilities is credited with much of the improvement.
Obviously, any legislative changes to the ACA will be in the forefront of the news cycle throughout the remainder of 2017. This space will have important updates and analysis as the picture becomes clearer. We would love for you to join the discussion. In the comment section below, tell us what you will be watching for in healthcare news over the next six months. Or, feel free to stop by our Facebook page and share your thoughts.
In the market around Atlanta Georgia I was covered under the ACA and all of the major insurers basically dropped out to where we were relying specifically on one which is a government program that said it had all of these positions that you could call and be a part of butt there was no one anywhere near my area which is a suburb of Atlanta that any doctors were taking patients that used that insurance so basically if you did not have insurance through employment then finding ebony family doctor much less The Specialist was almost impossible especially anywhere near your home. I have sense then declared disabled and have Medicare and you have to be very careful who you pick as Your Part D Medicare or I had the same problem I was able to find a good insurance carrier for Part D Medicare and was able to use my own Physicians but with just the ACA using what they call PeachCare and then it had the name ambetter I was unable to find any Physicians that would take me as a patient because the ACA was so poorly administrated that the Physicians were not reimbursed on a timely manner and they didn't want to revert reimbursed at market value which of course is lower than what the actual bill is most insurers have deals with insurance companies and pay about $0.50 on the dollar where if you do not have health insurance they bill you for the entire amount this was a major problem and it has been a major problem from other people I know that use the ACA. Congress needs to get together and repeal ACA and then work on finding a replacement that will lower cost and also lower deductibles also we need competition over state lines so that people can find a plan that works for them there was basically a four-point plan in the ACA we need many more than four possibilities of plans so that it would fit every person's needs from youth to retirement. If something isn't done to repeal the ACA and repair or replace then we will have within a year or two so many problems that the Healthcare in the United States will be third world or less. Any kind of single-payer system will be even worse because I have been in the medical field myself and worked teaching and I taught in many different countries and the single-payer system in all of these countries were terrible if you think the VA in the United States is bad just compare it to what would be available in the United States on a single-payer system. The idea that a country the size of the United States could offer a one payer system and be successful is a terrible idea and that's coming from not only a patient's point of you but a hospital worker and also someone that teaches Medical training in numerous parts of the world including Canada Europe South America and Caribbean countries. The larger the amount of people on a single-payer plan the more Fraud and Abuse will happen with less patient care in the United States I would imagine patient care would drop buy Factor of over 80%. That information is coming from both a patient and a physician assistant.