9:57am

Mon October 14, 2013
Top Stories

Obamacare Not the Only Health Care Change on the Horizon

April Wortham of HealthLeaders
Credit HealthLeaders Interstudy

  MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A mid-state research group has released a new study concerning trends in health care that contains both good news and bad news for patients.

HealthLeaders Interstudy is a Nashville based company that conducts health care market research. The group released a report last week that suggests hospitals are moving away from an emphasis on treating as many patients as possible to making sure the patients they do treat get better and stay better.

HealthLeaders analyst April Wortham cites the mid-state’s St. Thomas family of hospitals as an example. She says the system has instituted new policies for patient follow up.

“If I’m a patient, I may suddenly find that I’m getting a phone call from a health coach or a nurse saying ‘Hi, we’re just checking back to see if you had any questions out of your most recent doctor’s appointment or if you were recently discharged from the hospital how things are going. Are you having any symptoms? Have you made a follow up appointment? Have you got your medications?’”

On the down side, Wortham says Tennesseans may have fewer health care options going forward. She says insurance companies are slowly restricting available coverage to practitioners that have the best record for patient outcomes.

“A patient may be able to keep their doctor and just pay a higher fee, but we are moving toward a situation where ‘If you want this particular health insurance plan, here is your list of doctors that you must go to.’”

Wortham says that while the new federal health care law is accelerating these changes, the current health care economy is simply not sustainable and the pressure to move toward a new model of care has been building for some time.