The evolution of the United States healthcare system has been seen as a blessing in disguise to many Americans who would have otherwise been faced with a myriad of harms as far as their health is concerned (Cohn, 2016). The health reforms in the country that oversaw the drafting into law of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 have had many positive impacts on the state of health of the American citizenry. Before the ACT was assented on by the president, close to 46 million Americans were uninsured and as such were faced with increased premiums on healthcare and fee-for-service costs (Cohn, 2016).
Impact on healthcare delivery
Notably, healthcare has been on the forefront in cutting down medical errors that have proved to be deadly over the years thus resulting in about 87,000 lives being saved since the year 2010 (Cohn, 2016). Such efforts have been connected to the many initiatives that have been under the Affordable Care Act. The Act has initiated a series of penalties on any hospitals that have got patients coming back for readmissions which has been vital in reducing any errors that medical staff may induce on patients (Cohn, 2016). On the hand, the federal government has been on the forefront in rewarding healthcare settings that have agreed to look into the safety of the patients they are taking care of which basically translates to improved quality of care (Cohn, 2016).
In addition, to reduce medical errors, the US department of Health and Human Services estimates that there have been 50,000 fewer deaths resulting from hospital readmissions which translate to about 12 billion US dollars healthcare costs being saved (Medicare & Medicaid News, 2015). As such, it is evident that these health reforms have been instrumental in improving the quality of care and patient safety. Therefore, in addition to reduced costs for health care, these reforms have been proactive in reducing hospital errors and readmissions translating to improved quality of care and subsequently health quality (Medicare & Medicaid News, 2015).
Healthcare reforms advance the continuum of patient care. The healthcare reforms were meant to have a change in the way healthcare services are provided to the citizenry of the country (Garrett, 2013). From this, the long-term implications for these reforms are likely to be the development of provider structures, increased healthcare costs and a changed mode of payment (Garrett, 2013). As such, the Affordable Care Act was implemented with the long-term objectives of improving the health of populace served, improving patient satisfaction and reducing the overall costs involved in healthcare (Garrett, 2013). As such, in order to ensure that there is a continuum in the healthcare reforms, there is the need to focus on long period care facilities whereby the spotlight should be on long-term care facilities as opposed to in-patient and long-term acute care healthcare settings (Garrett, 2013). Therefore, there will be the need to put more weight on these long-term care facilities to provide care to patients with persistent illnesses (Garrett, 2013). This will be realized if there are collaborative measures between these long-term care facilities and acute care receiving health settings. These efforts are directed at ensuring that the tenets of the healthcare reforms are achieved which will translate to boosted levels of patient satisfaction.
Cohn, J. (2016). Fewer Patients Have Been Dying From Hospital Errors Since Obamacare Started. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/patient-safety-obamacare_us_565dcb8ce4b072e9d1c34a57
Garrett, J. H. (2013). The continuum of care: Healthcare reform's effect - McKnight's Long Term Care News. Retrieved from http://www.mcknights.com/marketplace/the-continuum-of-care-healthcare-reforms-effect/article/310255/
Medicare & Medicaid News. (2015). Obamacare funds battle against hospital-acquired conditions, readmissions. Retrieved from http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Medicare/2015/20150925_Obamacare-funds-battle-against-hospital-acquired-conditions.htm