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The American Healthcare Act and your FQHC

April 13, 2017 - 3:30 PM

Potential new legislation may promote a dramatically change.

If passed, patients will be forced to be less reliant on doctors and hospitals, and to seek more of their basic and preventive care—like vaccinations, medication consultation and adherence, birth control prescriptions and diabetes maintenance—from their local pharmacists to keep costs down, a trend which started even before this proposed bill came into being.

Seventy-Percent of healthcare costs treat preventable diseases. This plays right into the FQHC health delivery proposition. FQHC’s have the highest success rates when it comes to major preventative care. There’s an enormous need for preventive services. Obamacare had mandatory coverage, and 31 states took advantage of expanded services partly funded by the mandate. The proposed plan would limit the mandate—they need to save money somewhere—pushing the Medicaid burden to the state to try to figure out how to best support uninsured and underinsured. Care management is willing to reinvent the business model and there’s a big shift to more personal burden. Shifting the burden to the individual will have an enormous impact.

300 billion a year of our healthcare dollars are spent due to lack of medication adherence. Americans are not taking their prescriptions regularly or correctly and ending up in emergency rooms for preventable conditions that have escalated. The average physician spends less than five minutes explaining medication.  FQHCs should and will place more emphasis on patient education and will need to work closer with community pharmacy’s.

The bill does have some aspects that can be viewed more favorably, such as maintaining protections for preexisting conditions exclusions. And there is evidence from a published CBO report that families making 400% of the poverty line do stand to save money on healthcare.

However, an increasing number of organizations, including FQHC providers remain opposed to the bill, arguing that the drastic healthcare cost increases will be harm those most vulnerable, like the elderly and low-income Americans.

Your FQHC patients will need to be increasingly proactive about their healthcare. We can help them by providing the education and guidance they need to navigate the ravaging waters of healthcare.

-Tom Jensen

Written by Emerald

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