Don’t Wait To Prepare for Healthcare Reform

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The old adage, “better late than never” applies to the series of changes, regulations and reforms known collectively as “Obamacare.”

A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blogger posted last week, that businesses waiting for the election to decide how to respond to Obamacare or its repeal are behaving dangerously.
The blogger wrote in part,”Employers need to move strategically forward under the assumption the health care exchanges will take effect Jan. 1, 2014. By doing so, they will be compliant with the law, but still remain flexible to adjust to changes or react to further regulatory guidance.”

Physician offices, hospitals and clinics, as employers need to prepare in the same ways, if they haven’t already. But there are still items that directly affect providers through the changes that Obamacare offers, including the prospect of declining Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals, recently activated provisions for CMS non-reimbursement of certain supposedly hospital-caused readmissions, and the influx of new patients expected to be covered by near universal health insurance mandate.

Although most of the changes take place in the future, in many ways, the changes for providers are even more difficult to plan for because they include balancing staffing levels and cash resources. This does not even include the serious discussion about what services will be provided in a new world. These plans have to start being worked out now with contingencies in place in case it all changes within the next 12 months.

For better or worse, the time to plan is not after the Presidential election, but now.

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