UHS CEO Alan Miller on the impact of the PPACA, physician reimbursement and health IT

While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has led to millions of uninsured Americans gaining healthcare coverage, important contributors to rising healthcare costs such as unnecessary utilization of emergency departments have not gone down.

"This is the opposite of what ObamaCare is supposed to do," King of Prussia, Pa.-based Universal Health Services CEO and Chairman of the Board Alan B. Miller told CNBC News Friday. According to Mr. Miller, inadequate reimbursement for primary care physicians makes them more eager to treat patients with commercial insurance and less willing to accept large volumes of new patients with Medicaid coverage. Because of this, many people insured through Medicaid are unable to schedule appointments with PCPs and instead seek care in emergency departments.

"If [the government] raises the reimbursement for the primary care doctors they would be more likely to make appointments with people who have lower price insurance, or who are being subsidized by the federal government," said Mr. Miller. "They could solve that easily — but it's a cost."

Despite this repercussion, Mr. Miller described how the growing number of Americans with health insurance has helped the hospital operator improve its bottom line — UHS' bad debt has dropped substantially because of the rising number of patients with insurance, according to Mr. Miller.

Additionally, health IT improvement programs under the PPACA, such as meaningful use, will ultimately help hospitals reduce wasteful spending, increase efficiency and improve care delivery. "The government has been helping us pay for electronic health records — every hospital, every doctor will have to have all of the information online, which will be very helpful. It will eliminate duplication," said Mr. Miller. "Quality-wise, if you're in foreign state and you are in an accident or something like that, they can pull up your record and know what medications you should have, what you're allergic to, what you have had in the past. It's a wonderful thing."

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