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Complex healthcare law turns into payday for consultants

The Washington Post, April 4, 2011
From Washington to California, the year-old health law, with its layers of complexity, is setting off a gold rush for high-priced lawyers and consultants. It's "a full employment act for healthcare consultants," said Ian Morrison, a founding partner of Strategic Health Perspectives in Menlo Park, CA. Much of the activity—and the prospect of glitteringly high fees— is swirling around a widely discussed provision that encourages doctors, hospitals and insurers to team up in treating patients. Initially, these "accountable care organizations," as envisioned in the law, will treat only Medicare patients, and will get bonuses for providing better care at lower cost. But if they work, ACOs will likely spread to private patients as well. The ACO issue "has all the pieces that drive consulting," said Morrison. "There are legal, information technology and cultural changes needed to make it work, so lawyers are happy as hell, IT people are happy as hell and so are the management consultants."

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