Most of the provisions of the much-discussed, and much feared, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, won't take place until 2017. But making the changes necessary to compete in a drastically altered reimbursement and service environment is far from as simple as flipping a switch in 2017.
In fact, here in the first week of 2012, if hospitals and health systems have not yet begun the work of making significant changes to just about everything they do—including patient care protocols—they are already significantly behind the change curve.
Indeed, this is true for just about any entity that provides healthcare services and depends at least partially on government reimbursement. But as you know, government is not the only entity pushing change.
As I discovered during my reporting for our most recent intelligence report, despite widespread opposition to some of the provisions in the PPACA, the majority of respondents to our survey suggested that it will improve healthcare quality.
Why? Put simply, because revenue and survival are at stake. Certainly some healthcare entities see their death warrants in the signed legislation. Staff and service cuts are sure to be a big part of it as well, and those are well under way.