Docs don't talk about healthcare reform with patients

As Affordable Care Act implementation deadlines near, physician-patient discussions often don't include healthcare reform, according to a new poll by HealthPocket.

The survey of 1,176 people found that half of all respondents who have a regular physician have not talked about the ACA with him or her.

For patients whose physicians have discussed healthcare reform, 38 percent heard mostly negative comments, 33 percent said their doctors made mostly positive remarks and 29 percent heard neutral comments.

"Doctors, as trusted healthcare experts in the eyes of consumers, can help their patients understand how patient care will be affected," HealthPocket CEO Bruce Telkamp said yesterday in an announcement.

The survey findings come as the American Medical Association's new president said its members should do whatever they can to help carry out healthcare reform, Kaiser Health News reported. "[W]e have been in communication with many, many individuals in the administration about our role as physicians in this and what we can help them do, and what we can do to help our patients get the kind of information they need," Ardis Dee Hoven, infectious diseases specialist , said in an interview taped for C-SPAN's Newsmakers.

Hoven and Telkamp echoe sentiments from America's Essential Hospitals, formerly the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, which called on providers and hospitals to serve as "neutral informers" about healthcare reform and what it really means. They can educate patients about new rights under the ACA and what happens if their state opts out of Medicaid expansion, Shawn Gremminger, vice president of Legislative Affairs, told FierceHealthcare in an interview last year.

For more:
- here's the survey announcement and poll
- check out the KHN  article