Health providers scrambling for changes in 2014

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The U.S. healthcare industry is in a full sprint to transition for changes come 2014. Despite budget constraints and clinician shortages, hospitals, physicians and insurers are building the foundation necessary to support new payment and care models and the influx of newly-insured patients.

This year brings many challenges for practices and hospitals. Below are 4 trends we are sure to see.

  1. Unrelenting revenue pressure is naturally tied to cost reduction–which may cause employer-employee conflicts. Providers may reduce hours, outsource or enact layoffs. In turn, this may create additional pressure on staff to exceed the usual hours and workload, resulting in a possible decrease in quality care.
  2. We may see a trend in incentive programs for rewarding doctors for improved quality, lower costs and strong patient satisfaction. This may be financial or as part of the entire compensation package.
  3. Health care operating expenses, particularly in IT, will continue to outpace payment increases–giving practices and hospitals reason to examine ways to cut costs. Naturally an area for examination will be benefits–as it is a large business expense.
  4. Employers will keep up the pressure on providers, health plans and employees. With double digit increases more common over recent years, employers will continue to pass along cost to employees with high-deductibles and narrow health benefit plans. During labor negotiations, hospital and non-hospital employers will trade wage increases for creative health benefit designs.

Certainly practice managers play a vital role in the transformation phase and strategic direction of the practice. During this time, physician practices face an interesting overlap–how do they prepare for operational changes and make changes to their own benefits package in response to health care reform?

What challenges does your practice or hospital face in preparation for reform?


Source: 2013 Healthcare Industry Outlook: Scrambling to prepare for 2014 Health Care Reform, accessed 21 January 2013 from: