The Affordable Care Act means new opportunities for hospitals and healthcare organizations according to Tanya Blackmon, President of Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center. It's an exciting time to be in healthcare" she told members of the Competitive Workforce Alliance Allied Health Regional Skills Partnership. Blackmon said while implementing the Act is challenging, it also has organizations looking for better and more cost effective ways to deliver their services. "We cannot just continue to charge a fee for every service. Right now reimbursements only cover about 70% of the costs. The Affordable Care act is forcing us to look at how we do things and not just keep doing them because we have always done them that way." She added, "We have already seen significant savings from switching to electronic medical records".
Blackmon said the Affordable Care Act is affecting all aspects of medical care. Hospitals will be for the sickest people. "We are putting more focus on outpatient care," she said. "That both helps reduce costs and better meets the needs of many of our patients. We are also increasing patient education and awareness and we are focusing on wellness programs." She noted Novant even has on-line physician visits!
Blackmon said the changes in healthcare will also change the needed healthcare workforce. "Care coordinators are a good example. These people call patients who have been released from the hospital and make sure they understand the care they need at home, and get them help if they need it. This helps to reduce the number of people who come back to the hospital." She said Novant also expects to use more allied health professionals, such as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), physical and occupational therapist assistants and more. "Their occupations play a valuable role and so RNs and other more highly trained professionals can focus on tasks only they can do."
"The Affordable Care Act is good. Many more people will have access to healthcare and we have an opportunity to be pro-active and innovative and make our healthcare system better."
60% of all healthcare workers are allied health professionals