Monthly Archives: July 2015

Incentivizing Health Care Providers in Areas of Need

patricia-bennett1In a series of four posts, we explore key issues raised by the Affordable Care Act and how our country needs more health care providers who are able to provide high quality integrated care. We asked for your thoughts on what public health care agencies should do to meet the growing health care need. Next week, we explore the importance of having health care providers from diverse backgrounds.

Our country’s health care workforce is experiencing a major shortage of providers who can serve individuals recently enrolled in the ACA’s health care reform insurance plans. Did you know that, by 2020, it is estimated that there will be a deficit of 45,000 primary care providers (PCPs)? This is particularly problematic as PCPs comprise the backbone and frontline of our health care system’s infrastructure and distribution of services. They are usually the ones who see patients at the onset of their symptoms, and triage patients to appropriate sources of care. Currently, 20% of Americans live in areas with insufficient primary care providers, 30% live in areas with too few mental health providers, and 16% live in areas with too few dentists[1] – many of the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollees reside in these same areas. Some strategies such as loan reimbursement programs, salary stipends, leadership development programs, career advancement tracks, housing support, and relocation assistance packages have been utilized to some degree. These programs may need to be enlarged in order to entice health care providers to practice in high-need areas. How else do you think we can incentivize highly-trained health care providers to practice in areas that are in dire need of services?

[1] http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2014/January/03/doctor-shortage-primary-care-specialist.aspx

Meeting the Affordable Care Act’s Promise

patricia-bennett1In a series of four posts, we will explore key issues raised by the Affordable Care Act pertaining to our need for more health care providers to serve the many new enrollees. What are your thoughts on what public health care agencies should do to address this growing demand? Next week, we explore how incentives can be used to entice providers to serve in high-need regions.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has garnered considerable attention in local and national media for years now. Through March 2015, over 16 million individuals nationwide[1] (approximately 36% of the 45.2 million previously uninsured individuals)[2] have enrolled in public health insurance plans via the newly formed health care benefits exchanges. While it is good news that so many more people have health care insurance coverage, it is now essential that our country’s public health care agencies turn their attention to increasing capacity to provide high-quality health care services to the many new enrollees. In addition, current and newly trained health care providers need to integrate their services for patients, collaborate with each other, utilize emerging technologies, improve their quality measures and adherence, and provide patient-centered care to help meet the growing demand for services. What additional measures do you think should be taken to ensure that new enrollees will be provided the high-quality and timely care that the plans promise to provide?

[1] http://obamacarefacts.com/2015/03/16/obamacare-enrollment-numbers-as-of-march-2015/

[2] 45.2 million American individuals were uninsured in 2013; http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Census-About-9-percent-in-state-uninsured-in-2013-5759796.php