Overload is a concern
Patient-safety groups concerned about overload
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.”