Prescription for Healthcare Employers

How to Thrive Under the New Rules of Healthcare

What will healthcare look like in the future?

It's a hotly debated subject that's echoing everywhere from living rooms to the corridors of the Supreme Court.

Though much of the public discourse is focused on changes for individual patients, hospitals and other providers are bracing for change as well. "Part of the reason for healthcare reform was the need to reduce overall expenditures," says Laura Avakian, a senior advisor at Bright Horizons. An author and expert in the field, Avakian says the new landscape will look at saving money by, among other things, altering the way insurers dole out reimbursements.  That, of course, will affect the business model and bottom lines of the provider.  A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education affixed actual numbers to the potential fallout, citing a study showing that academic medical centers can expect to lose roughly 10% of traditional revenue to the new reimbursement rules.

What's it All About?

Among other things, sweeping reforms are expected to change how and how much providers are reimbursed. Veering away from a straight fee-for-service model, the new insurer pay structure will reimburse providers based on things such as prevention efforts, reduced patient readmission rates, and results of patient satisfaction surveys. That, in turn, will make healthcare workers the drivers of top payments for their employers, and put new pressure on these same employees to perform.

The changes are stirring healthcare organizations to rethink strategies, particularly as they pertain to the workforce. "It's affecting the way that hospitals are looking at the employee benefits they provide," says Ms. Avakian. Recognizing the challenges of working stressful, unconventional hours, Baylor College of Medicine, for example, began offering its employees back-up care for their children and adult/elder relatives. They've since seen the payoff in engagement and overall productivity, rewards that will certainly be valuable under the new industry structure.

The Future

Portions of the Affordable Care Act are currently under judicial review, but Medicare has already implemented some changes, and Avakian says continued reforms are all but a given. The employers who stand to hold up under the new challenges, she adds, will be the ones with the workforces that have both the desire and the ability to put in their best performances.

"We're asking employees to work in new ways and to meet these new quality standards that are so crucial to reimbursement," says Ms. Avakian.  For the health of the organization, "we have to give employees the tools that support job performance to make that happen." 

Bright Horizons is the leader in employer supports for healthcare organizations. We can help your healthcare organization tackle the challenges of the new system. More than 120 healthcare employers have already chosen Bright Horizons as their partner for dependent-care and work/life supports.  To learn more about our complete family of solutions at work, visit us here.

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