Archive for January, 2013

A Lesson from the Sneetches

This Practitioner Application to the article “Post Acute Care and Vertical Integration After the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (by Patrick D. Shay and Stephen S. Mick) appeared in the January/February Edition (Volume 58, No. 1) of the Journal of Healthcare Management.

In his classic tale “The Sneetches,” Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss, 1961) created a society divided by entitlement in which the lines of separation were removed, thrusting its members together. A satire about discrimination, “The Sneetches” offers children an early introduction to the arbitrary walls that those forces governing society can build and destroy at their whim.

Shay and Mick may be said to describe a similar scenario as they apply provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA ) to post-acute care and vertical integration under the Medicare Shared Savings Program (also known as accountable care organizations or ACOs) and to bundled payment systems. They note that these are the areas in which the influences of the ACA are most apparent. In the process, Shay and Mick remind us that perception is formed largely on the basis of factors lurking beneath the surface that care little for public opinion. For example, much like Dr. Seuss’s Sneetches, Hurricane Sandy, which struck the East Coast shoreline in October 2012, rendered the “haves” and “have nots” almost indistinguishable. Bellevue Hospital, the oldest hospital operating in the United States, was capable of offering roughly as much care during and immediately following the hurricane as it was in 1736, when the New York City Almshouse designated six bedrooms as Bellevue’s first “ward.” Continue reading →

Health Care Reform: Walking the Fine Line Between Epic and Tragic

This article was first published at California Healthcare News on January 8, 2013.

The recent changes to the core structure of modern American health care are nothing short of epic, rivaled in historic scale only by the introduction of Medicare in 1965. Although each decade over the past 50 years has in some way used government programs and incentives in an attempt to urge health care to undergo recalibration as a means to establish industry stability, by the end of the first decade of the 21st Century it had become evident that health care in the United States was fast becoming unsustainable as it existed. Enter health care reform.

Three years after the Federal Government passed the Affordable Care Act in an attempt to right the sinking ship, we the people are still waiting for the tide to turn. Having survived last summer’s monumental challenge before the United States Supreme Court and a presidential election in November, the Affordable Care Act has not only emerged as the law of the land, it has cemented its place as health care’s blueprint throughout America for decades to come. For California, however, the timing is unjust, as the perfect storm brought about by fiscal cliff/debt ceiling concerns heads straight for Sacramento from the east just as health care’s versions of Scylla and Charybdis approach forebodingly from both north and south. Continue reading →

Winter Journal 2013

I am pleased to share with you a collection of my most recent writings on the Affordable Care Act, all of which can be accessed through this link: Click Here for the Winter Journal 2013

The recent changes to the core structure of modern American health care are nothing short of epic, rivaled in historic scale only by the introduction of Medicare in 1965.  Although each decade over the past 50 years has in some way used government programs and incentives in an attempt to urge health care to undergo recalibration as a means to establish industry stability, by the end of the first decade of the 21st Century it had become evident that health care in the United States was fast becoming unsustainable as it existed.

Having survived last summer’s monumental challenge before the United States Supreme Court and a presidential election in November, the Affordable Care Act has not only emerged as the law of the land, it has cemented its place as health care’s blueprint throughout America for decades to come. Unfortunately, the speed at which health care reform appears to move can at times be dizzying, and its demands are often draconian at first glance.

History has shown that health care in the United States is resilient, and often finds ways to surprise even its toughest critics. Though it is too soon to predict the future of health care in the United States, the value of historical information pertaining to the evolution of our health care system should not be discounted.  Only through the combination of historical perspective and modern-day analysis have I been able to understand the essence of the Affordable Care Act.

It is my hope that the following articles will provide the reader with similar guidance.

Very truly yours,

Craig B. Garner

 

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