Bracing for health reform's impact

Health reform is sweeping through Washington like a cyclone, and with it will come huge changes to how healthcare organizations run, it seems certain. How impacted you are probably depends on what business you're in--hospitals and doctors seem likely to be affected most--but there's little doubt you'll feel the burn.

At ANI, make sure you take the chance to soak up the scuttlebutt on how to cope with waves of the newly insured, who are likely to strain your patient capacity quickly. (Buttonholing attendees from Massachusetts, where universal coverage is already in place, could be a good idea.) With Massachusetts facing a substantial physician shortage that seems triggered by state health reforms, you'll want to brace yourself for a tougher national shortage once U.S.-wide reforms are in place. Brainstorming on how to encourage and retain doctors under even higher-traffic conditions would be smart at this point.

This might also be a good time to connect with vendors who help qualify patients for public assistance, and see what they can do to respond to the Brave New World that's coming. After all, for example, if there's a subsidy mechanism in place that can get the middle-class uninsured onto a commercial plan, it'd be great to help them qualify; even if it doesn't pay for their current bills, it'll help in the future.

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