By William J. Hayes, managing editor, Pennsylvania CPA Journal
The state of health care in the United States and Pennsylvania is being transformed. Payment structures are changing, and technology will continue to shift how health care is delivered. With so much change, it is a perfect time for an update. PICPA member Joanne M. Judge, CPA, a shareholder and cochair of the health care department for Stevens & Lee in Reading, will provide just such an update at the June 13-14 PICPA Health Care Conference. We asked Judge to give us a sneak peek into the issues she will discuss at the conference.
The state of the Affordable Care Act is in major flux. If it is going to go away or be drastically changed, what do you see rising up to take its place?
The largest achievement of the Affordable Care Act was the significant reduction in people without health care coverage. An elimination of the ACA or drastic changes to it will bring that problem back to the forefront, particularly because individuals without health coverage are more likely to consume more resources in more expensive settings, such as emergency departments, when they get sick. The elimination of the penalty for not having insurance has already decreased the number of people who are purchasing health coverage.
How will the evolution of health care payment structures shape how services are delivered?
Both governmental and commercial payers are increasingly focused on payment for value. It is already having an impact on health care investment in systems to capture data, and has resulted in real focus and change for both costs and outcomes. As individuals have more financial responsibility for health care, consumers will be more attentive to costs, and more information is available to help them choose.
Are there ways by which technology is set to change the delivery of health care, and, if so, what are a few?
Technology will have a major impact on health and health care in the near future. Telehealth, which encompasses technologies and tactics that deliver virtual medical, health, and education services, is rapidly growing as a delivery mechanism. Drones and artificial intelligence will work in both delivery of services and education. Video games are increasingly used for both education and treatment.
For more information on the state of health care, check out Judge’s presentation at the June 13-14 PICPA Health Care Conference. Registration information can be found on www.picpa.org.