Health and Science
Thu July 19, 2012
Roundtable discussion of Affordable Care Act
In October hospitals across the country will be rewarded financially for how well patients perceive their care and whether certain standards were followed. The head of a Madison doctor's group says this aspect of the Affordable Care Act should improve quality.
Edgewood College held a roundtable discussion about health reform with many people in key industries, including doctors, insurers and business. Peter Christman is CEO of UW Medical Foundation. He says the Affordable Care Act is generally a good thing. Christman says more people will be insured and changes to Medicare payments will improve hospital care for patients: “I think all of us in the health care field have talked about quality for a long time, but it hasn't been effectively measured until very recently. And you can argue about the metrics but the fact of the matter is: you're being held to them.”
These “metrics,” or standards of care, include giving blood clotting medicine within 30 minutes to someone having a heart attack and antibiotics within an hour of a surgical incision. Ensuring these measures are taken will have added importance because they determine how much Medicare money hospitals get.
The rising cost of health care sparked health reform, but the president of a Madison insurer doesn't think the law will help in that regard. Lon Sprecher is CEO of Dean Health Plan. “I think costs will go up. What do we do about that? I think that will be round two of health care reform. The rancor didn't go away with the Supreme Court decision: We still have 26 Republican governors trying to block the exchanges any way they can. ”
Gov. Scott Walker has said Wisconsin will not implement two key components of health reform – Medicaid expansion and the creation of a website where people can compare and shop for private insurance – until after the November election.