MedCity Influencers

The Future of Healthcare: Obamacare, Allied Health, and More

President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons / CC0   The Affordable Care Act’s implementation has been a process seemingly cursed with difficulty; the launch of healthcare.gov was overwhelmingly negative and millions of Americans wrongfully losing their coverage certainly wasn’t a good sign. Some states have chosen to expand their medicaid options, […]

President Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

 

The Affordable Care Act’s implementation has been a process seemingly cursed with difficulty; the launch of healthcare.gov was overwhelmingly negative and millions of Americans wrongfully losing their coverage certainly wasn’t a good sign. Some states have chosen to expand their medicaid options, and various businesses expect to be affected by the new law in different ways.

The short-term effects of Obamacare mostly seem to be confusion at this point, but down the road it seems that one of the biggest impacts of the new healthcare legislation will be the potential increase in jobs. We can also expect expanded roles for advanced practice practitioners in basic healthcare.

Hiring Due to Obamacare

As Obamacare begins in earnest, more than 40 million new patients will enter the healthcare system nationwide. This influx will create a hiring need for a number of positions, even in industries that aren’t inherently health-related, such as IT. Since the new healthcare laws require that plans offer all forms of health coverage, including mental health, the demand for new talent will be especially varied.

Picturing Expanding Medicaid: blue states chose to expand medicaid, red states did not. Grey are still in debate.

 

Medical coding, in particular, is expected to see tremendous growth in talent demand. The healthcare industry will soon be transitioning to the new ICD-10 coding system, increasing the amount of expertise and knowledge that coders must be aware of when they come to the office. It will also take longer for medical coders to transcribe both inpatient and outpatient charts. This drop in productivity, paired with an increase in the number of treated patients, means that demand for medical coders under both ICD-10 and the medical system after the Affordable Care Act will be higher than ever before.

Some medical professionals also believe that demand for nurse practitioners and physician assistants will increase dramatically. In many cases, these healthcare workers can do the same job as a fully licensed doctor, including prescribing medications and ordering some tests, at 45-55% of the cost of the primary care physician. In a medical system that stresses cost-reduction efforts, care from these professionals will be emphasized. Some reports have also shown that advanced practice practitioners make for more satisfied patients, and that they provide more efficient health care delivery.

Also included in the list of industries to increase hiring as an indirect effect of new healthcare legislation are the insurance industry, legal advocates for all parties involved, information technology specialists, management consultants, and customer service representatives. There will also be a relatively new type of position, the health navigator, who will be charged with helping new subscribers to the system find the coverage that’s right for them. The navigators will help citizens file the appropriate paperwork and work their way through the healthcare bureaucracy. The expected pay for a navigator, starting out, is $20 per hour.

An Apple a Day Keeps the Nurse Practitioner Away?

NPs are trained for patient care.

 

Fewer and fewer medical students are choosing to pursue careers in primary care. This is because primary care physicians are often burdened with paperwork and find that they must haggle with insurers over reimbursement. With an aging baby boomer population, as well as a dramatic increase in new patients in the system in upcoming years, many health experts believe that advanced practitioners can fill the primary care gap that medical students are unwilling or unable to fill. In most states, nurse practitioners are able to prescribe commonly used controlled substances for their patients. In 2010, a study in Academic Medicine predicted that by 2025 most primary care will be delivered by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Advanced practitioners are generally confident in their ability to provide primary care. With educational backgrounds that very clearly highlight the patient experience over research, they provide a pragmatic approach to patient care at a drastically lower cost than a physician.

 

Written by Ian Morrow

Ian Morrow is a writer and higher education professional living in the Greater Cleveland area. With about two years’ experience writing academic and marketing pieces, Ian happily wears many hats and, despite lack of formal experience in some content fields, strives to write to industry standards with integrity by focusing on research. Ian graduated from the University of Chicago in 2011 and is now pursuing a master’s degree in higher education administration. His other interests include international affairs, French language and literature, Science Fiction, and topics in Intersectionality. Ian is a regular contributor to the AIMS blog. Follow him on Twitter @eendeebo.

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