Search For a Provider Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube ES View the Patient Toolkit

Sex Health Blog

The Affordable Care Act and Your Sex Health Practice

Jul 26, 2012

On June 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and  questions abound. Many come from patients, of course. You’ve probably fielded a number of those questions already. How do uninsured patients get coverage? How much will it cost? Will they still be able to see you?

As a healthcare provider, you probably have lots of questions, too.  What does the law mean for your practice, your colleagues and employees, and your day-to-day procedures? What are the next steps?

Here’s how Healthcare.gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, describes the law in relation to healthcare providers:

The Affordable Care Act makes investments to help raise the quality of care, while giving Americans – and their health care providers – more control over their health care. It puts patients’ relationships with their doctors and nurses ahead of insurance company profits and paperwork, and gives health care providers incentives to better coordinate care. The Affordable Care Act also ensures that millions of Americans will have access to affordable insurance – giving them access to the quality care you deliver.

What does this mean for you? Every situation is different, but here are some highlights of the law as it pertains to providers. Please note that this is not an exhaustive summary; rather, it is a sampling of changes in the works.

Coverage For More Patients

As you’ve probably heard, the new law will give over 32 million uninsured Americans access to affordable health care. It will also cover certain preventive services for certain populations, such as Pap smears, HPV vaccines, and STD counseling. These measures are designed to keep people healthier.

In addition, Medicare patients will be allowed certain preventive services and an annual wellness visit with no cost-sharing.

On the provider’s side, more patients with healthcare coverage means fewer uninsured patients and fewer problems with uncompensated care at your practice.

Simplified Administrative Procedures

Even if you don’t handle the day-to-day administrative tasks yourself, you can probably appreciate the time and accuracy they require. Each insurance claim is different; each form needs to be completed in a particular way.

The ACA proposes to make these tasks easier. For example, between 2012 and 2016, health insurance claims procedures should become standardized in accordance with national rules. Eventually, electronic health records should be implemented. These changes should allow you to spend less time on paperwork and more time caring for patients. They might reduce your overhead costs, too.

Professional Development and Incentives

The ACA is expected to bring more training and development opportunities – as well as financial incentives – to healthcare providers.

Along with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the ACA will assist in the training of over 16,000 new primary care providers in the next five years.

In addition, nurse practitioners will be trained in new clinics to be managed by nurses. These clinics are planned for underserved communities.

 “Registered nurses are well-positioned to lead in providing essential prevention and wellness services and care coordination for individuals and families,” said American Nursing Association president Karen A. Daley in a press release. “The law enhances opportunities for nurse practitioners and nurse midwives to provide primary care. This will increase accessibility for the growing number of people needing basic health services.”

The ACA also allows for the expansion of the National Health Services Corps, which provides scholarships and student loan repayments for primary care physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who plan to work in underserved communities.

To Learn More…

These are just three aspects of the Affordable Care Act that pertain to providers. There are other areas that are beyond the scope of this post, including changes in Medicare and Medicaid payments, medical liability protection and grants, physician disclosure requirements, and tax changes that may affect your practice, depending on the number of employees you have.

For further information, please visit HealthCare.gov. The American Medical Association has also published a detailed booklet that can be accessed here.

If you have other questions, especially those that pertain to your individual practice, be sure to consult your attorney.

Resources

American Medical Association
“What’s next for physicians and patients following the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act?”
http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/washington/aca-supreme-court-decision.pdf

“What Health System Reform Means to Physicians and Patients”
http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/washington/hsr-booklet.pdf

American Medical News
Gallegos, Alicia and David Glendinning
“What’s next for physicians after Affordable Care Act ruling”
(June 29, 2012)
http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/06/25/gvsf0629.htm

American Nurses Association
“Accountable Care Organizations”
http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/Policy-Advocacy/Positions-and-Resolutions/Issue-Briefs/ACOs

“ANA Lauds Supreme Court Decision Upholding Health Care Reform Law”
(Press Release. June 28, 2012)
http://www.nursingworld.org/FunctionalMenuCategories/MediaResources/PressReleases/Supreme-Court-Upholding-ACA.pdf

Healthcare.gov
“Healthcare Providers and the Affordable Care Act”
http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/07/health-care-providers.html