Hospitals continue on reform path despite uncertainty

Regardless of the Supreme Court ruling, hospitals are updating policies and procedures to adhere to the health reform law. In preparation for reimbursement changes under health reform, Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, for instance, installed welcome signs in 10 languages, valet parking and free Wi-Fi to boost satisfaction scores, The New York Times reported.

The hospital also has nurses conduct hourly patient rounds and established home-based care programs for chronically ill patients to cut hospitalizations emergency-room visits, the Times noted.

Hospitals in Arizona are continuing to change healthcare delivery, with or without the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to the Tucson Citizen. Despite health reform uncertainty, providers are joining forces to coordinate care. Hospitals are hiring physicians, nurses and case managers to enhance post-discharge support and keep patients from coming back.

"Forces within the healthcare system are pushing for change," Marjorie Baldwin, an economics professor at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business who participated with President Barack Obama's health-reform task force, told the Tucson Citizen. "That is true whether we had the (Affordable Care) act or not."

Meanwhile, community hospitals in Ohio are watching and waiting for the Supreme Court's ruling, the Mansfield News Journal reported. But health systems still expect big changes even if the highest court rules reform as unconstitutional. According to Genesis HealthCare Systems CEO Matthew Perry, unsustainable Medicare and Medicaid structures must change for hospitals to survive.

To learn more:
- read the Times article
- here's the Tucson Citizen article
- read the Mansfield News Journal article