The Affordable Care Act, or, for those tea partiers out there, Obamacare, has made some changes to how health care is funded and tracked. Many of these changes are apparently still in the administrative phase in terms of setting the regulations and rules that pertain to medicare, medicaid, provider reimbursement and the like.
The recent “Health Report Card” given to Massachusetts in a report by the Boston Foundation and NEHI can be seen HERE. This report gives the state’s efforts at healthcare reform in primary care a “C” grade, stating that “the state’s health care reform and health care payment reform strategies have not as yet put the expansion of highly coordinated, team based care at the center of plans for improvement”.
Those who work in medicine for the developmentally disabled adults in Massachusetts see this as a turning point. Perhaps we can be successful in building a new, coordinated system of care based on a team of providers that will result in more “wellness” and less emergency department visits.
The existing system is very entrenched and the new policies will have to contain incentives that no one will want to refuse to be successful. Monetary incentives are not enough. We need to make it easier to navigate the system for individuals, for agencies that provide direct care, and for the health care providers themselves. Better communication between all parties, better education and health literacy, and healthier environments must be included.
Massachusetts was given an “F” in the area of Public Health Funding. Severe budget cuts on the state and federal level have the potential for weakening further efforts at prevention of chronic disease and the reduction of long-term health care costs.
If Massachusetts cannot lead in this area, what hope for the rest of the country?