During a time when the health care industry is undergoing a variety of changes caused by not only modern technology but also an overall change in the United States health care system, today’s health care administrators are faced with new and unprecedented challenges.
Changes in Health Care
Health care in the United States faces new challenges each day and the decision largely falls on administrators to strategize and address these issues and to continue to provide adequate care for patients. These challenges are derived from a variety of factors, including the implementation of new legislation, advances in technology, and the shift of patients towards specialized providers.
Health Care Reform
The United States health care system has been greatly affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act in June of 2012. The reform works to expand coverage, enhance the quality of health care in America, lower costs, and hold insurance companies accountable. Some of the key aspects of the health care reform legislation include but are not limited to:
- Under the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), the insurance industry will no longer be permitted to reject individuals based on pre-existing conditions. The plan extends coverage to those who were previously denied health coverage by companies and have also been uninsured for over 6 months
- Medicaid will undergo an expansion to cover individuals whose income falls below 150% of the poverty line, or about $33,000 per year for a family of four
- Young adults that are still covered under their parent’s plan are now required to remain covered by insurances companies until the age of 26 whereas prior to the Affordable Care Act, children could be removed at the age of 19
Health Care Challenges Today
As these changes go into effect, the amount of choices that patients have when seeking health care providers will increase drastically. To combat this, health care administrators will need to identify ways to succeed during a time when consumer choice is at the forefront of discussion.
Growing Need to Specialize
A primary threat to traditional hospitals is the increasing amount of specialty facilities that have gained popularity in the United States. Defined by the U.S Government Accountability Office as “a hospital in which two-thirds or more of its inpatient claims were in one or two major diagnostic categories or two-thirds or more of its inpatient claims were for surgical diagnosis-related groups,” these specialty hospitals provide the opportunity for higher quality care and cost control.
While physicians are beginning to start their own outpatient surgery centers, hospital administrators must respond by developing a strategy for specialized care. When determining the type of track, it is essential for health care administrators to examine the providers in surrounding areas and the demographics that the facilities serve. After determining a feasible strategy, administrators must work to staff their hospitals with qualified members to accommodate the plan and execute best practices.
Competition for Health Care Professionals
Due to a shortage of health care professionals, there is increased competition for hospitals and health care providers to recruit and hire qualified individuals to treat patients effectively and efficiently. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care employment is expected to rise 23% by 2018 yet administrators are still faced with the task of creating a work environment that offers competitive pay and benefits to attract the most qualified registered nurses, physicians and surgeons as well as nursing aids. These roles are essential to the operation of any health care facility therefore, administrators must execute skilled recruiting and hiring processes.
Despite the challenges that face the health care industry today, it is an exciting time for individuals to become part of historic change and it is essential to have qualified administrators developing effective strategies and innovative approaches to combat these challenges. Those interested in pursuing an online Master’s Degree in Health Administration will find the tools and resources at Saint Joseph’s University to take the first steps in advancing their health care career.