Health care has evolved dramatically from the avuncular family doctor of the 1950’s. Today’s practices and practitioners have higher levels of skill and more complex management than ever. Yet as much as things have advanced in recent years, it’s clear that there are still more changes ahead.
The most seismic event to impact health care in recent years has been the Affordable Care Act. Its effects are still being created and measured, but three important points seem clear right now.
First, we will see ongoing changes to the documentation of medical care. Periodic changes to ICD codes will be necessary to reflect evolving federal regulations, forcing medical staffs to stay on their toes.
Those clinic and practice support workers will have to communicate with the practitioners about accurate documentation of patient visits, and they will also need to be aware of EMR software updates to ensure compatibility with changing requirements. These updates will also be an essential part of the process of getting accurate insurance payments, Medicare reimbursements, and preauthorization for further treatment.
Second, there will definitely be a higher demand for medical care. People who have skipped doctor visits, especially regular checkups, due to lack of insurance will now have coverage and will be seeking care more frequently. This will create a massive increase in demand for practitioners and is likely to enhance the for additional non-physician practitioners, especially nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.
The reason for that brings us to our third point. Reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid seem to be such that lowering the cost of providing care will be very important. Consequently, if a PA can see you for a sore throat and fever without incurring the cost of the doctor’s time, economics will likely demand that it be done.
The unanswered question at this time is what will happen to the ACA after the November presidential election. The balance of power in Congress and the occupant of the White House [Read more…]