By Jaron Van | Image – LarsZ/Shutterstock |
If you worked in healthcare for the past six years, you have seen a lot of change. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act caused much uncertainty. With that uncertainty, you felt a lot of stress. To prepare for the Affordable Care Act, hospitals and clinics cut costs in every way possible leading up to 2010. That means that many of us were working short staffed and with limited resources. But what is going on now six years after the Affordable Care Act started?
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, from the Affordable Care Act starting point to June 2015, 16.4 million uninsured people have gained healthcare. The Commonwealth Fund estimates a 3.8 percent increase in visits across healthcare practices. This is great for job security, but many of our departments have already been working understaffed. Physician burnout is becoming a hot topic in the industry, but everyone from nurses to lab technicians are torched.
One of the largest concerns with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act was the economic impact that healthcare providers would experience. The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid. Private practices only see a small amount of what Medicaid pays. With the increase in patients, our clinics and hospitals should see a direct increase in profits. Although there are more patients, those of us who work at private practices are not seeing as much from each patient with Medicaid as they would for commercial health insurers. This correlates again to more work and less quality in patient care.
One of the problems that the Affordable Care Act was able to solve was uncompensated care costs. Now that a significantly more number of patients are insured, they are able to pay when there is a large bill. Because of this, the US Department of Health and Human Services determined that hospital uncompensated care costs were reduced by an estimated 7.4 billion dollars in 2014. This is great, but it seems that the larger companies are the only one’s benefitting.
The Affordable Care Act gives bonuses to accountable care organizations. To be considered an accountable care organization, providers must join together in order to reduce costs. Some believe that this joining is causing larger companies to absorb many of the smaller practices. The increase in number of patients and the difficulty of the private practice healthcare business has caused many physicians to migrate toward these larger companies. These companies give more positions and benefits to new healthcare employees who usually are struggling with student loans. They also This trend may contribute to healthcare becoming more corporate and less personal regarding patient care.
The most important aspect of the Affordable Care Act was to allow more patient coverage, and it has. Although more patients have access to medical coverage, the healthcare industry has changed. There is currently a shortage in most areas of healthcare, and the Affordable Care Act can be a reason why. Healthcare workers are more or less becoming factory workers, and we do not like it.