As health care reform has become the law of the land by a landmark decision of the Supreme Court, the care-count continues to grow daily.
This “count” is the number of American citizens who at age 65 years old become eligible for government medical care, which we know as Medicare.
Let’s quickly review the numbers: Every 18 minutes, one hundred (100) Americans reach the golden age of sixty-five, that’s 7,999.9 persons per day or 2.92 million new Medicare recipients per year. With the post WWII baby boomers starting in 1946 and continuing until 1964, the seniors boom will continue for the next 17 years.
On July 1, 1966, Medicare, authorized by title XVIII of the Social Security Act, offered health insurance to almost all Americans age 65 or older. That was 46 years ago and the paradigm and landscape of American health care has since shifted; life expectancy got longer, increase in chronic diseases, increase in obesity, increase co-morbidities and many advances in medical technology, i.e. pacemakers, drug pumps, CAT scans, MRI’s et. Al.The technology push in those four plus decade has also translated into a mindset of, “I want it right now”. When it comes to health, mental or physical, this can be good. The Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems and the Cloud are working toward giving 24/7 access where needed. Many dollars have been directed into case management to also reduce the error ridden health care delivery system.
With the re-election of President Obama signed sealed and delivered November 6, 2012, the Patient Protection & Affordability Care Act (PPACA) is not slated for repeal. This national law now carries the promise of a new health care delivery system with a tipping point toward a new system and away from the office and institutional based delivery system of the 20th century.
Since the industrial revolution in America, doctors have cared for their patients behind the closed doors of the Doctor’s Office.
With the technology available today, patients and society no longer need or want to follow that closed-door model.Today we must have the medical information where the patient and the provider can get it… any place, anytime, the Cloud.
The health of the nation was front and center in the 2011 State of the Union Message: President Obama stated in his 2011 State of the Union Address that he wants to connect “every part of America to the digital age” within the next five years. The President stated his vision of the future was one in which, “a patient…can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.”
That time has finally come and none too soon. PPACA also, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in March of 2010 and then upheld as the law of the land in June of 2012. And lastly assured no attempts at repeal with the President’s re-election. However, health care started to change long before the first and/or last vote in Congress because health care cost has been out of control for a long time.
Health care reform: A complex equation
The Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) are but two of the re-structuring formats being used to access risk and share savings in health care delivery going forward. Yet in 2011, one year after the PPACA became law only 19 percent of physician knew what an ACO was. There are now many mandates in health care organizations, i.e. hospitals, PPO, Practice management group, etc. where three to five hours of continuing medical education (CME) of what and how ACO’s will function are required. This is a major practice adjustment, that has many health care professionals stressed over that seven-letter word, mandate.
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