The April 21 study session was at St. Anthony Hospital, and city council heard from Jeff Brickman, CEO of St. Anthony, about the effects the Affordable Health Act is having on the hospital.
“For us, this is more about economics than politics,” Brickman said. “What we’re seeing now is the single largest change in the way health care is delivered.”
According to Brickman, the changes brought on by the ACA are shifting attention to value-based care, with a focus on wellness and preventative care for patients.
“The health care field is one of the few areas of the economy that is seeing steady growth, and the changes from the new law are projected to lead to 22,388 new jobs in the state,” he said. “We’re also seeing that the Colorado Accountable Care Collaborative pilot program has saved $20 million so far.”
He also added that 60 percent of payments for health care comes from the Federal government.
Brickman also highlighted the challenges that the medical industry is facing as a result of the ACA, as well as the political battles going on in Washington.
“Medicare only pays 75 cents per dollar of the cost in Colorado, and we’re seeing $1.4 billion in Medicare payment reductions,” he said. “There was the 2 percent cut due to the sequestration that lead to $359 million in additional reductions.”
Brickman said that going forward, it is quality of care that will predict the financial stability of the new system.
“Getting doctors involved in the community is something we’re going to be really encouraging,” he said. “We have Ambulatory Centers opening up all over the metro area to increase our presence in the community.”
Council asked question about cost-shifting, insurance costs and new best practices.
Ward 5 councilwoman Karen Harrison asked what the hospital and other health organizations will do if there is a political shift in November, and Brickman said that since the issue is more about economics than any party, these kinds of changes are going to have to be made anyway for the industry to survive.
“What it comes down to in the end is we want clarity and simplicity for the future,” he said.
The next council meeting is a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 28, at Civic Center South, 480 S. Allison Parkway.