Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What’s Next in Health Care Reform?

Although many articles have been written on the implications of the health care reform legislation, I thought a recent brief summary by Bill Jessee, the president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association, in the May/June issue of MGMA Connexion journal was most informative. (To read the article, you must subscribe to the journal.)

A good deal of the value of Dr. Jessee’s commentary lies in the fact that it is based on a presentation at the MGMA’s fall board meeting by Lynn Nicholas, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association and Alice Coombs, MD, president-elect of the Massachusetts Medical Society. Because the health care reform implemented in Massachusetts was often cited as a template for the federal plan, Dr. Jessee felt that examining what happened in Massachusetts after their 2006 reform bill passed could be instructive.

In the article, five key learning and potential implications of the national reform package were articulated. In summary, it appears that the following occurred thus far in Massachusetts:
1. Costs have not been controlled
2. The individual mandate worked
3. Cooperation between hospital leaders and physicians has been enhanced.
4. Consolidation and integration of practices is accelerating
5. Primary care entry access points were limited
6. Emergency Room visits increased

Hopefully, the Obama Administration will continue to observe and learn from the Massachusetts experience and incorporate these learnings into positive implementation strategies and tactics.

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