Like the Affordable Care Act or not, Kentucky hospitals are bracing for it

10/22/2013 04:58 PM

Kentucky hospitals have been laying the groundwork for the Affordable Care Act since the moment President Obama signed it into law in 2010.

Philip Patterson, 44, is the new CEO for Owensboro Medical Health System who is scheduled to start Nov. 1. He is coming to Owensboro from the three-hospital network Bon Secours Charity Health System in New York and New Jersey.

At the same time Patterson helped turn the financial prospects of the hospital system around, he said he oversaw changes to partner with other health care facilities to widen its base of patients. Kentucky has seen similar partnerships with Kentucky Health One in the Louisville market — a coalition of Jewish Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital’s network and the University of Louisville, for instance.

While the Affordable Care Act will provide greater access to health coverage for the uninsured or under-insured, many of the specific ways hospitals will have to adapt in order to handle new health care consumers hasn’t been determined, Patterson said.

“We’re still in a wait-and-see mode for a lot of these pieces,” Patterson said (6:00 of the interview.) “But what we’ve been able to do is understand enough about the overall goals of the Affordable Care Act … We can all really buy into the overall goals of the Affordable Care Act. The issue is the infrastructure and how to pay for it.”

The law could reduce costs by imposing penalties for issuing unneeded tests.

“I think it starts the change in philosophy and the thinking of health care providers as we look at ways to do things more economically and more positively for the patient, overall,” Patterson said.


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