The weak economy, political debate and subsequent challenge in Supreme Court prompted a period of reflection for healthcare providers to reevaluate their growth strategies. While most provider-speculators who sought poor guidance or partnerships, loopholes, or weak financial or competitive analysis’ will continue to run into complications, the majority of medical professionals now have the green light to further their entrepreneurial pursuits by expanding financial and real estate footprints in hospital and physician-collaborative outpatient settings.
The health reform initiative and advancements in care and treatment will not only allow ambulatory services the opportunity to grow, but this strategy will begin to even the distribution of care from the heavier weighted inpatient model. Currently, outpatient services serve as a complement to the inpatient hospital.
Outpatient settings will become the central location for the sophisticated array of specialized services delivered in an integrated environment to ensure a high quality of care and positive patient outcomes.
The majority of the healthcare law includes features aimed at reducing the number of uninsured patients, which will increase demand for outpatient services (especially in underserved areas) and require hospitals and health systems to become more efficient in order to accommodate the improved volume.
Healthcare reform also will reward providers that can coordinate services in a cost effective manner while improving quality of care. The focus on primary and preventive care will push providers to expand services to include a wider range of outpatient services to ensure integrity of care.
As payment reform moves away from fee-for-service reimbursement to outcomes-oriented reimbursement (e.g., bundled payments, pay-for-performance), this incentive-based legislation focuses on preventive and coordinated care to encourage greater collaboration with physicians, demonstrable quality of care and outcomes and more efficient operations. The development and implementation of patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) and accountable care organization models (ACOs), improved management of chronic diseases, and focus on preventive services and healthy behaviors will accelerate the shift of traditional hospital care to more integrated, coordinated, and outpatient-oriented care delivery systems.
As ambulatory care services become a larger part of healthcare delivery, hospitals and healthcare systems should ensure that services are positioned to maximize both patient and financial benefits. An ambulatory care services strategy and plan is increasingly critical and should outline five important strategies.
For these strategies, please contact Robert S. “Bob” Lowery, Managing Partner of MREA at 713.701.7900 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.