As I talk to senior leaders across the country during the course of my job, that's the positive attitude on which the overwhelming majority of my sources seem to be leaning. Color me surprised as I've encountered this attitude time and again. I've been conditioned, covering healthcare for a decade, to (understandably) hearing wailing and gnashing of teeth by the government regulation change du jour. But instead of focusing on the negative, many CEOs are seeing the new normal as an opportunity, as befits leaders' generally optimistic personalities.
Chris Borr, as the vice president of marketing for McKesson, one of the industry's largest IT companies, hears frequently from his colleagues about individual stories of innovation that are still in the early stages of execution.
For example, while he hasn't seen any really bold moves to address the accountable care organization concept central to PPACA, he sees opportunities for innovative healthcare leadership to define those organizations, while regulators provide a framework in which hospitals, health systems, health plans and physician practices fill in the blanks. Many organizations are beginning to debate what an accountable care organization actually is.
"There's a myriad of structures that it could take and it's still a definition that's waiting to be written," says Borr. "That's an opportunity in many respects. The government doesn't have a good track record in defining or prescribing how care should be delivered, but they do have a good record on setting minimum expectations that allow the market to figure it out."
Borr's not overly concerned.
"There's no alarm with [ACOs] that they aren't tightly defined," he says. "That's actually a benefit."
The other thing that's glaringly apparent is the level of concern in being able to place large bets for their orgs with very little information to back up the decisions on where to place those bets.