Whether you’re a medical student, resident or practicing physician, you’ve no doubt been caught up in the buzz of healthcare reform. Like others in the field, you’re probably concerned or anxious — no matter where you stand on the issue.
For better or worse, big changes are coming. As a physician, it’s important to be informed and prepared. Today’s post will focus on the major shifts that lie ahead and what you can do to prepare for them.
The Three Major Shifts
Healthcare reform creates three major shifts:
1) A substantial increase in covered population
Physician shortages are already a problem, but in the coming years, more than 16 million Americans will be added to the Medicaid program. Many doctors are dreading this new pool of patients, largely because dealing with government insurance programs can be frustrating and time consuming.
2) Shifting Medicare and Medicaid financial risk to providers
New challenges and opportunities will open up for physicians as more hospitals function as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) with financial success depending on patient outcomes. Because of this, new physicians may eventually find their careers heading in a direction of leadership mixed with clinical practice.
3) Reduction in Medicare payment rates
As hospitals receive lower reimbursements across payers, complications will arise. Because of financial constraints, many independent practices may find themselves merging with larger hospitals to secure capital for new technologies and staffing support.
Impact on Physicians
All of these shifts will create major changes in the structure of healthcare organizations, meaning they’ll have a direct impact on physicians.
Looking at it positively, it’s wonderful that nearly 32 million more Americans will have health insurance and access to care.
As a physician, however, you have a right to be concerned about your livelihood. With hospital revenue constraints, many physicians will be facing smaller amounts of take-home pay.
Visit the Market Trends and Trials section in the Adventures in Medicine Resource Library to gain a greater understanding of how you might be impacted. A solid understanding of these issues now will help you make informed decisions as your career progresses.
No matter where you’re at in your physician career, you might be experiencing a lot of negativity from other doctors because of healthcare reform. This can be a toxic environment, especially if you’re having doubts about your decision to be a physician.
The best things to do are to stay informed and stay positive. The issue of healthcare reform is ever-changing, and the more you know, the better you’ll be able to stand up for yourself and your peers. Conduct your own research on a regular basis.
Always try to surround yourself with other positive colleagues. In times of stress, be mindful and remember why you chose to be a physician in the first place. Go back to your core motivations and beliefs and use these as fuel to stay focused and optimistic.
What are your opinions on healthcare reform?
Do you find yourself surrounded by negative attitudes because of reform issues? If so, how do you react?
Please share your views in the comments below.
Physician Career: Sponsors
Though the views expressed above are solely the writer’s, Beloit Health supports “The Dose with Dr. Goodhook” and is partnering with Adventures in Medicine to create an open, inspiring and insightful community for residents and physicians. Click here to learn more about ways that Beloit Health is making practice purposeful.