Message from the President
I am pleased to provide you with MCHC’s 2012 Metropolitan Chicago Region Environmental Assessment. This assessment provides an overview of the broad environmental and market issues that will likely impact the health care field in the metropolitan Chicago region during the upcoming year. It is designed to help MCHC members better understand the significant challenges their organizations will likely face not only this year, but for the foreseeable future. This year’s assessment also includes a special theme on health care reform to recognize the impact this historic legislation will have on MCHC members.
The intent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is to improve access to quality and affordable health care. In addition to new taxes and fees, the legislation includes a variety of new requirements on health insurance coverage. The legislation contains an individual mandate, low-income subsidies, an expansion of Medicaid, insurance reforms and the creation of state-based health insurance exchanges. Although many provisions will not take effect until 2014, some have already kicked-in and, in turn, are posing challenges.
Health care reform will impact many areas of a hospital’s operations which are highlighted in this assessment. To name a few, hospitals will be expected to play a critical role in enhancing efforts to improve quality and patient safety; reduce variation in care; increase clinical and operational efficiencies; increase efforts to improve patient satisfaction; reduce avoidable readmissions; and utilize health information technology (HIT) and electronic health records (EHRs).
Looking ahead, there will be more work for MCHC and its members in a post-health care reform environment, especially in helping to ensure adequate and timely reimbursement for care provided. An initial estimate of the impact on MCHC members is a roughly $8 billion loss in anticipated Medicare reimbursement alone. Especially hard-hit could be those metropolitan Chicago region hospitals that serve large numbers of low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients. MCHC will continue to build political support to protect and enhance, where possible, federal funding for Medicare, Medicaid and other programs. MCHC also will continue to provide its members the most up-to-date innovative and timely programs, services and information to assist members maximize reimbursement.
Furthermore, both the U.S. Supreme Court and the upcoming November general elections will likely have a significant impact on the newly enacted health care reform law. This assessment will highlight many of those challenges in the metropolitan Chicago region. In light of these challenges, MCHC and its members must continue to tell their story and demonstrate the enormous value hospitals bring to the communities they collectively serve. MCHC will continue to provide effective advocacy tools intended to help MCHC members tell their story to legislators and public policymakers. Additionally, MCHC will continue to be THE TRUSTED VOICE AND RESOURCE for information and education on policy changes brought on by health care reform, with a view to helping its members understand how reform will impact their ability to care for their communities; and play a leadership role on behalf of MCHC members in advocacy strategies to respond to and positively influence the implementation of a variety of reform policies. With the ever-changing health care environment, MCHC will continue to keep its members informed and updated on key hospital issues through the Weekly Government Affairs and Policy Update and white papers.
Thank you for your continued support and leadership. I welcome your feedback and comments and hope you find this assessment useful in your planning efforts for 2012 and beyond. Please feel free to share this assessment with members of your staff or governance body. For more information, please contact MCHC Government Relations (312-906-6087; email@example.com).