The 2012 Election: Hospital and Healthcare Leaders React

By re-electing Barack Obama to his second term as president last night, voters secured the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The election is over, meaning it's time to return to work and finish what was started. But first, Becker's Hospital Review wanted to check in with some healthcare leaders to hear their reactions to last night's decision and thoughts on what's next for the hospital industry.  

Larry Anderson. CEO of Tri-City Medical Center (Oceanside, Calif.). "The result of the election does not change our plans at Tri-City Medical Center. We have been preparing for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act virtually since its passage in 2010. The election, however, confirmed that we need to focus on the effect that the ACA will have on us as a large employer in our community. The cost of the ACA is projected to dramatically increase our cost of providing health insurance to our employees (60 percent increase over the next six years) and we now must prepare to be able to absorb that cost."

Igor Belokrinitsky. Principal, Booz & Company North American Health Practice (Chicago). "Post-election, there are no more excuses for sitting on the sidelines — it is time to get in the game. For hospital and health system executives, the imperatives will be to address the affordability challenge and to understand, engage and retain the increasingly sophisticated and demanding healthcare consumers. Doing so may require new consumer-centric care models, targeted acquisitions, evolution of the service line portfolio, and a quantum leap in informatics. Simultaneously, in order to fund these investments, health systems will need to bring their cost structure and operating model in line with the new margins and organizational priorities."

Eric Bieber, MD. CMO of University Hospitals and President of University Hospitals Accountable Care Organization (Cleveland). "We should continue to evolve the healthcare system. … We need to address the growing cost of health care, to free up resources for other uses and allow businesses to be price competitive locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Hospitals will continue to streamline operations and driving down costs in an era increasingly defined by demands to do more with less.

In the future, UH will consider an exchange among other Ohio hospital systems to collaboratively develop and provide innovative services and systems of care. … A concern moving forward will be shortages of physicians, nurses, allied health care workers. We need to work as a nation to provide the incentives to attract the coming generation of physicians to the primary care field."

David Brooks. CEO of Providence Health & Services (Everett, Wash.). "The fuse on reform has been lit and the election was not going to materially change the realities of a broken healthcare system that is unaffordable. Healthcare leadership's work is how to rapidly improve the system of care and structurally reduce cost so that access for all is affordable. And we need to be planning for the increase in needed service for the uninsured that will be arriving no later than 2014."

Paul Kerens. Senior Executive Officer of Kansas City Orthopaedic Institute (Leawood, Kan.) and President of Physician Hospitals of America. "For the hospital industry, looking at our costs is going be important going forward. From my understanding of the Affordable Care Act, which is quite massive, reimbursement is not going to be going up. We are going to have to focus on overall costs, efficiencies and how well we can provide excellent service to our patients with the resources we have.

Physician-owned hospitals, in particular, have a little bit of a unique challenge in that we have some restrictive legislation out there [in the PPACA]. One, you can't build new physician-owned hospitals, and two, those of us that are in existence have restrictions on our growth. We will continue to educate Congress, both in the Senate and the House, on the services and advantages of physician-owned hospitals. Physician-owned hospitals have some of highest patient satisfaction scores in the country, and we do believe competition is still good in healthcare. It drives down costs and increases quality. Our stance on the Hill is the same."

Richard J. Umbdenstock. President and CEO of the American Hospital Association (Washington, D.C.). "The election has been decided and the time for politics is over. It is now time for governance. We must address the serious issues facing our country and have conversations that address real reform to improve the nation's healthcare system for patients and communities. Cuts to hospital care are not real reform. It is now clear that implementation of the Affordable Care Act will move forward and we will continue to improve and build on it to advance quality of care and reduce cost."

Andrew Ziskind, MD. Managing director of Huron Healthcare's Clinical Solutions (Chicago).
"Regardless of where the balance of national partisan power falls in the new political landscape, healthcare leaders are already moving forward under the assumption that federal and commercial reimbursement will go down and quality of care must go up. To meet that need, organizations have their sights set on innovative new care delivery settings that create more efficient, effective care that is more affordable and more reliable. Hospitals, health systems and academic medical centers are at different places along the continuum in making this a reality. However, healthcare leaders agree that, regardless of politics, they must find their way forward to this ultimate goal."

More Articles on Healthcare and the Election:

Barack Obama Stays in the Oval Office, Affordable Care Act Stays the Course
Massachusetts Rejects Physician-Assisted Suicide, 4 Other State Ballot Outcomes
What 5 Hospital CEOs Expect After Today's Election

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