Consider how the major changes to healthcare in 2012 will impact your health, your access to care, and the quality of care you receive. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. Five major changes in healthcare have been or will be in effect in 2012.
1) Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)
- Physicians, other healthcare providers and hospitals can voluntarily form ACOs to provide coordinated care for patients.
2) Fewer Disparities in Healthcare
- Improving the access to care by providing affordable health insurance may begin to close the gaps in health disparities. Attention will be placed on increasing racial and ethnic diversity in healthcare professions.
3) Insurance Rebate
- Insurance companies must spend 80 percent of premiums on direct medical care or quality improvement. Those that fail to meet the requirement must provide rebates to policy holders.
4) Electronic Records
- Electronic records in place of paper records may prevent redundant procedures, thereby reducing medical costs and promoting patient safety.
5) Value-based Purchasing
- Medicare's new program links provider reimbursement to the cost and quality of the care the provider provides. Value-based Purchasing Programs utilize hospital and provider performance statistics and scores to encourage healthcare providers to lower medical costs and to increase care value. Volume of care (or fee-for-service) systems are discouraged.
Read more about healthcare reform on Fox News.