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How does Affordable Care Act Change Your Practice?

How does Affordable Care Act Change Your Practice?
11 September 2015

Affordable Care Act has been working towards increasing the number of insured Americans. If this becomes a reality, are the U.S. physicians equipped to handle the influx of newly insured patients? Since ACA open enrollment began in 2013, the number of insured Americans continues to increase. A comparison of uninsured Americans according to CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicates that the number was 44 million in 2012 and the number stands at 29 million as of the first quarter of 2015. There is a steady decrease in uninsured population from 17% in 2012 to 9% in 2015. Thus RAND report notes that there are 17 million more insured potential patients.

If physicians are not ready to treat more new patients, there are many ways to deal with the increased patient volume without affecting the quality of care and patient satisfaction. Here are a few tips to treat the larger crowd of newly insured patients that could earn more revenue for your medical care center.

  1. Add a Physician

It’s an advantage to have an additional physician to consult more patients. If doctors see an average of forty patients a day, the new doctor should also see the same number of patients. This way you can add a different kind of specialist.  In case you are regularly referring patients to a specific type of doctor, save that revenue by hiring a physician with that specialty.

  1. Hire a PA

Hiring a physician assistant is less expensive when compared to the business generated by a PA. According to MDMA the employer has to pay only 30 cents for every dollar generated by the PA. Hence employing a PA is more profitable than hiring a doctor. It should be noted that physician assistants cannot handle all the duties of a physician and therefore supervision is required to ensure quality treatment.

  1. Use of Technology

Many physician practices are using electronic health records (EHRs) as a result of the HITECH Act and the Meaningful Use incentives. As of July 2015, Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs have paid more than 4,74,000 health care providers. The advantages of using technology are promising. A good quality EHRs has features such as appointment scheduling, template building and patient tracking that can help the physician to get more patients without appointing more staff. EHRs simplifies administrative work of a physician which otherwise would overwhelm a major part of the day. By using new technology, more time can be spent to treat new patients. It is important to choose the right EHR or else it will result in waste of time and money.

It may be concluded that this is the right time to utilize the rapid increase in new patient which is unlikely to happen again. Analyze the positives and negatives of adapting to the new methods of treating more patients according to the demands of your practice and thereby increase the profitability of your business in the future.