US Healthcare Reform and the Impact on Primary Care Physicians Laura Garcia
ENG 122 English Composition II
Dr. Paula Porter
June 28, 2010
The new healthcare reform act recently passed will be fully implemented by 2014. Every person living legally in the United States will be guaranteed, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (PPACA), healthcare insurance. Across the United States, primary care doctors are already preparing for the full impact this will have on their practices. In keeping with the promise made by President Obama, physicians are already planning to increase their hours while trying to maintain patient care.
With this new legislation, there will inevitably be growing pains, for the providers, the patients, and most all for the insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that over 16 million additional adults will be eligible for health care coverage with the new Healthcare Reform Act. That is a substantial increase in patients needing to find a Primary Care Physician ((PCP) ). Shawn Martin, director of government relations for the American Osteopathic Association, says, "We were really pleased with the emphasis put on primary care and the continuous and comprehensive relationship with the primary care provider." The reforms will strain the nation's primary care delivery system, he adds, but "there are ways of dealing with that." (Bendix, J. 2010, May)
Providers that are considered critics of the new reform bill, PPACA, say that while there may be ways of dealing with the growing demand on the way they deliver healthcare that does not mean that it will be inexpensive. The growing fear for the average Primary Care Physician is that while the government is busy regulating how they treat their patients: what diagnostic tools they will be entitled to use, which tests they will be allowed to order, and what medications should be prescribed, the compensation that they receive for their services will be cut.
Still most providers are currently dealing with this increase is by referring existing patients to specialists that deal solely with their individual diseases: Diabetics will be referred to an Endocrinologist, Cardiac patients will be referred to Cardiologists and so forth and so on. Unfortunately, this system of dealing with the increase is a stopgap and will only prolong the agony; the Primary Care Physician ((PCP) ) will still be responsible for the overall care of their patients and will now have to keep track of the data generated from other healthcare providers.
With the influx of new patients on the Primary Care Physician (PCP) , providers are coming up with other ways of handling the added patient load. Some Primary Care Physician (PCP) doctors are extending their hours of operations. Most doctors have implemented a cap within their practices to minimize the number of new patients that can be added to their schedules, thus keeping the impact on their existing patient load to a minimum. Still other (PCP) are preparing their established patients with the new reality that faces them all, patients will no longer have unfettered access to their Primary Care Physician (PCP) .
Additionally, providers are concerned that not only will their patient load increase, but their reimbursements will decrease as well, thus creating an unnecessary burden on the practice as a whole. Hopefully, as more information becomes available, providers can put to rest their concerns. The areas most affected by this legislation are the areas of the country that have a shortfall of Family Physicians, Internists, and General Practitioners. Unfortunately, providers in these areas are going to be impacted the greatest. As more and more Americans gain insurance coverage the greater, the demand will be for their time and attention. The American Academy of Family Physicians predicts that an additional 40,000...
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