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Experts Predict ACA’s Areas of Primary Care Impact

Last Updated: January 16, 2014.

 

Biggest expected changes are increased patient volume, higher health plan administration burdens

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The Affordable Care Act will transform primary care, and predictions of this impact center around some common themes, according to an article published Dec. 25 in Medical Economics.

THURSDAY, Jan. 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will transform primary care, and predictions of this impact center around some common themes, according to an article published Dec. 25 in Medical Economics.

While the actual impact of the ACA will take some time to be realized, experts predict that the expansive changes will fall into five main categories.

The ACA is expected to create increased demand and volume for primary care physicians. Many physician practices are expanding hours, including on weekends, to accommodate this expected demand. While more people will be insured, narrowed provider networks may require a fair amount of "market churn," with patients needing to switch doctors to avoid out-of-network fees. This can create time burdens on physicians and the system as a whole. Additionally, patients will more frequently have questions about their health plan coverage. To accommodate the increased administrative burden as well as the increased patient load, workflows are expected to change along with greater coordination of care, including a greater reliance on patient-centered medical homes.

"Clearly, the old way of doing business, the old traditions about who did what kind of work and how patients interact [with] practices and who they spend time with about which problem -- that's all going to need to change," Molly Cooke, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco and president of the American College of Physicians, told Medical Economics.

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