The new frontier - a clarion call to act

The new frontier - a clarion call to act

With the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (usually referred to as the Affordable Care Act), we face the beginning of a new frontier in healthcare. Regardless if the court’s decision will be repealed in the halls of Congress, there are multiple dynamics that will challenge and test our resolve to adapt in the new frontier. This new frontier presents a clarion call for our leadership, employees, and medical staff to come together in a collaborative effort and commitment to address the following dynamics: Economics, Quality and Safety, HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), Coding, and EMR (Electronic Medical Record). 

In this new frontier, there is the economic reality that physicians and hospitals across America will be forced to adapt to major reductions in reimbursements. With the downturn in the global economy, corporate America is unable to afford the rising cost of healthcare, which will force insurance companies to demand increasing discounts for healthcare. Many citizens, if not covered by the Medicaid Expansion provision in the Affordable Care Act, will either go uninsured or underinsured and will be adding to the rising uncompensated care cost. The new economic reality will force physicians and hospitals to align with large healthcare systems in order to survive and thrive in this new frontier. 

This new frontier provides an opportunity for physicians and our hospital to develop teams of physicians and staff to embrace best practices and evidence-based medicine to improve quality and safety and the patient and family experience by addressing HCAHPS. Now is the time to develop work committees in embracing value-based purchasing by improving our quality scores and our HCAHPS scores. In this new frontier, we will also need to address community healthcare needs and provide clinical services to address these needs. At the end we all will be better – our patients, our staff, our hospital, and our image in the community. 

We face tough times ahead. This new frontier is a clarion call to act. We can either ignore it and live in denial, or embrace it. We can either run away, or face the future before us and work together as a unified team to find our new tomorrow. I ask that we all come together and face our new frontier and take it on with passion and commitment to become better.

Our FY 2013 budget is going to be the most demanding challenge that we will face. We are already facing, like many hospitals across America, a significant reduction in inpatient volume and revenue. We are not alone in this new reality. Many Americans can no longer afford healthcare and many are electing not to seek healthcare. We must adjust to this phenomenon.

Sincerely,

Ed Piper, Ph.D.

Former President & Chief Executive Officer, 2000-2016

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