On the surface, many of you feel that by improving quality, your reimbursement per unit of service will likely go down. That's one issue. On the efficiency side of the ledger, however, many studies have shown that healthcare still has a long way to go. From electronic medical records to better contracting strategies, improving your institution's efficiency is a winner regardless of the regulatory environment. It's simple math. The cheaper it is for you to provide a service, the more of the reimbursement you get to keep. What's so difficult to understand about that formula?
I realize improving efficiency isn't something the Act even indirectly addresses, except in various demonstration projects, but it's a strategy for dealing with the funding challenges the new law will bring, even if its scope is whittled down by the new Republican strength in Congress.
Impending changes in regulations in such a highly regulated industry can be a tempting excuse for inaction, even if, as a leader of your organization, you're not consciously sitting on your hands. In the larger economy, many explain the high unemployment rate as a function of the uncertainty about various reform attempts from finance to healthcare. Companies don't want to make the investment in people, the reasoning goes, if regulation makes it potentially too much of a gamble to hire people when federal regulations that in part determine an employee's cost seem so capricious and quick-changing. But the fact is that excuse just doesn't fly. The regulatory environment is always uncertain. What's always true is that improving efficiency goes straight to the bottom line.