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Why Catholic hospitals may actually flourish under one of Obamacare's rules

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Despite the glaringly obvious foibles of the Obamacare Act, there are some provisions which will prove popular with people. One particular provision uses a punishment and reward system for hospitals based on the quality of the care they provide. Now, hospitals, unsure of how patients will react, must evaluate their procedures more carefully than before.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Obamacare changes the rules so that hospitals are reimbursed based in part on the quality of the care they provide, not just the quantity. Hospitals will be evaluated based on patient quality surveys, and other metrics, including the number of patients who contract secondary infections during their visit. Hospitals that perform poorly will see their reimbursement rates cut.

Hospitals face uncertainly because the carrot-and-stick system is being employed at the same time they expect a fundamental shift in the behavior of people. Since hospital visits must be covered under Obamacare, the concern is that more people will begin using the facilities which have limited means to provide quality care to a large number of patients. For example, the number of doctors is limited as well as the ancillary staff required to provide adequate care.

Some administrators fear that at least in the short-term, hospital visits will skyrocket. Over the long-term however, they could also drop off, as patients turn to newly-acquired primary care physicians to deal with their ailments and maintain their health.

Despite the coming spike, quality of care must be maintained. Obamacare looks at outcomes, not just volume. Poor outcomes mean less money, no matter how much volume there is.

Catholic healthcare may actually flourish, if it is allowed to, under Obamacare. The reason is because Catholic healthcare focuses on holistic healing, treating the soul in addition to the body. Although science does not always acknowledge the value of such treatment, it is undeniable that spiritual healing affects physical outcomes.

The end result could be that Catholic hospitals perform better on patient satisfaction surveys than other, secular institutions. However, they will still be challenged by the many changes Obamacare brings and each hospital will perform differently based on a number of factors. 

What is clear is that following the New Year, everything will change for hospitals. As patients pack into the emergency rooms, challenges will present themselves. Doctors will be stressed and staffs pushed to their breaking point. Patients will have to receive better care than ever before and outcomes will matter greatly.

Obamacare is a tectonic shift for the healthcare industry. Perhaps most disconcerting of all is the fact that nobody really knows what will happen when the New Year arrives. If there were ever a good reason to delay Obamacare, this one might be it.

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Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)