Over­load is a con­cern

Pa­tient-safety groups con­cerned about over­load

Modern Healthcare - - Editorial -

Pa­tient safety and qual­ity ex­perts are ap­plaud­ing as­pects of the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act, but some are also warn­ing of sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges that could po­ten­tially ac­com­pany the flood of new pa­tients.

The health­care re­form law re­lies on a num­ber of meth­ods to im­prove ac­cess to health­care for the unin­sured, in­clud­ing bans on dis­crim­i­na­tion based on pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tions, tax cred­its for small busi­nesses that pro­vide cov­er­age for their em­ploy­ees and cost con­trols on in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums.

The re­sult­ing in­flux of newly cov­ered in­di­vid­u­als could strain an al­ready over­bur­dened sys­tem, said Diane Pi­nakiewicz, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Pa­tient Safety Foun­da­tion. She ad­vised providers to think of the new law as a cat­a­lyst that will drive them to look even more closely at their own pro­cesses and ways in which they can im­prove pa­tient care. “Th­ese re­forms are very good news be­cause they mean ac­cess for many more peo­ple,” Pi­nakiewicz said. “That said, there will be a lot more peo­ple en­ter­ing a sys­tem that is not cur­rently per­form­ing at the level that we want it to be. From our per­spec­tive, this serves as a call to action, much in the same way that the In­sti­tute of Medicine re­port on med­i­cal er­rors did a decade ago.”

In ad­di­tion, she said, many of the pa­tients who are just en­ter­ing the

Pi­nakiewicz: “Re­forms ... mean ac­cess for many more peo­ple.”

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