Health care

HEALTH CARE: Affordable Care Act's impact to be determined

The Times Board of Economists - An economic update from Gene Diamond, CEO of Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana hospitals
2013-01-27T00:00:00Z 2013-12-18T16:23:30Z HEALTH CARE: Affordable Care Act's impact to be determinedVanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

The ground is shifting underfoot in health care, and leaders in the industry are trying to determine the local impact of elements of the Affordable Care Act.

Effective this year through the law are measures to improve preventive health coverage, increase Medicaid payments for primary care doctors and plans to bundle payments for an episode of care, rather than being billed separately for each service.

As of Jan. 1, the Northern Indiana Region of Franciscan Alliance started providing care to Medicare patients under the auspices of the Medicare Pioneer ACO Demonstration Project, Gene Diamond said.

“We're being incentivized to keep patients out of the hospital,” he said.

To do so, providers are focusing more on preventive care and wellness, with employees tasked to follow up with patients.

Yet, The Community Hospital in Munster recently announced a $33 million expansion project that will add beds and increase services to meet growing patient demand.

“We can't both be right,” Diamond said.

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