Attorney Daniel Fisher Discusses the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its effect on Businesses and Healthcare Providers at Healthcare Roundtable
BGD attorney Daniel E. Fisher discussed the first year of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at Louisville Business First’s Healthcare Roundtable recently. Fisher, alongside fellow panelists Brenda Ballard (Vice President and Consultant, Assured Neace Lukens), Matt Gibson (Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer, KentuckyOne Health) and Dr. Steven T. Hester (System Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Norton Healthcare), talked about what has been working, obstacles and the potential impact on health care going into its second year.
When asked about the aspects of the Act that are working, Fisher pointed out that the Act has put a focus on cost and quality of care and the value of care delivered. “The dialog is just starting on how to better provide quality and value,” he said. “But that has begun, and that’s a positive.”
Even though Kentucky has been one of the country’s Act “success” stories and enrollment exceeded expectations nationally, there are still plenty of issues and calls for repeals and/or revisions expected in the future.
One of the criticisms of the Act early on was that there was confusion around health care reform and what it actually means. Fisher, whose experience with the Act relates to hospitals, physicians and other providers, addressed this, saying, “The changes that have come through the Affordable Care Act are still trying to be understood. They are extremely complex. A lot still needs to develop and shake out in the marketplace over the coming years to really understand the full impact of the law.”
He went on to share a few frustrations of health care providers in regards to the Act.
He explained that providers are experiencing a lot of changes in the delivery systems for healthcare, and that more collaboration and integration of services is being encouraged among different providers. According the Fisher, long-term care providers are being encouraged to participate in managed care programs and to contract more with third-party payers. There is also the push to reduce readmissions.
As a result of these changes, Fisher expects that there are going to be a lot of joint ventures, vertical integration of providers, combinations and other strategies adopted by post-acute and acute care providers to try and adjust to the changing marketplace. This could mean that larger providers are in a better position with capital and other resources to adjust to the marketplace.
Fisher also pointed out some of the lesser known aspects of the Affordable Care Act that encourage patient-centered care as well as coordinated delivery of health care services.
“There are many pilot programs that have been introduced that encourage innovation in design of systems and organizations with the objective of providing better coordination of care to patients,” he said. “The Act encourages providers to provide better quality and value to the patient and, to do so, really requires creative ways to reduce the cost of providing care and coordinating care across different levels of care throughout the system.”
When asked about the potential changes still to come, Fisher focused on the direction of health care reform.
“I think we’re going to see additional consolidation in the industry and fewer providers. Those that can embrace change, that have good business systems in place, who can accurately assess the costs that they incur to deliver particular services, those are the ones that are going to be stepping to the forefront. The consolidation of health care providers is going to continue. We’re going to see creative alliances, joint ventures and other innovative models for coordination of care among providers, especially in larger marketplaces. Smaller providers are going to continue to feel competitive pressures.”