The ACA May Improve Insurance Access, but What About Quality?

An article in Modern Healthcare outlines the chief concerns of foes and friends of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care. At the top of the list is overall quality. Will it get better or worse?

Dr. John Noseworthy believes the government must take heed of what many providers and commercial payers are doing—primarily engaging consumers more in their health care and rewarding performance and quality, rather than volume of services provided.

“We have seen positive steps on the commercial side,” writes Noseworthy in Modern Healthcare. “It is encouraging that the federal government is exploring how to reform the sustainable growth rate for Medicare reimbursement. This is a positive step but clearly just the beginning if we are to address the sustainability of Medicare. We need to modernize Medicare and drive the payment system to recognize better outcomes at lower cost. Medicare so far is taking only modest steps; we need to accelerate the speed of change.”

The problem, he writes, is that providers are paid for the work they do, rather than the results they achieve, especially when it comes to intermediate and complex care. “Government can modernize the payment system to drive providers to produce better outcomes—safer care, fewer complications and fewer readmissions—at lower cost,” writes Noseworthy. “That’s the first step. The second step is to allow us to innovate and find better ways of caring for patients. Technology makes it increasingly possible to provide care and share our knowledge at a distance, including across state borders, to provide better care to patients in their hometowns—even in their homes.”

Source: Modern Healthcare

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