How the Affordable Care Act Will Impact Home Healthcare & Hospice

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Celtic_JulyBy Kathleen Ganster

Healthcare laws are constantly changing; sometimes it seems from one minute to the next.

“Keeping up with the pace may seem overwhelming and exhausting for healthcare providers, but they can also provide opportunity,” said Emi Gilbert, In-House Counsel for Celtic Healthcare.

“The setting for home healthcare and hospice allows for there to be some bad actors out there, but healthcare regulations help get these bad actors out of the business,” Gilbert said.

One of the greatest challenges facing healthcare providers and consumers is the Affordable Care Act. Gilbert said the act will bring “broad” changes to healthcare.

“There are many moving parts to follow, and the number of regulations affecting us is amazing. One of the biggest challenges is following these changes and monitoring effective dates and/or delays,” she said.

Healthcare laws and regulations are necessary said Gilbert, for as she pointed out, home healthcare and hospice care are often out of the watchful eyes of others. And since most patients and clients are not medical experts themselves, they need someone assisting in assuring excellence in service and care.

“Sometimes the laws may seem cumbersome or difficult for healthcare providers, but they are created in the spirit of ensuring patients are receiving the best possible care,” she said.

For providers like Celtic who pride themselves in providing a high standard of healthcare, the laws are welcomed.

“The mission of Celtic is to do just that – provide excellent healthcare, so these laws can allow us to shine,” Gilbert said.

One of the particular challenges the laws create impact the payment system.  Gilbert said changes in reimbursement for healthcare providers have dramatically reduced revenue for providers. But providers cannot let that affect the quality of healthcare provided for their patients.

“That has to be the focus; and for Celtic, this is the number one priority. Our strategic growth plan includes organic and acquisitive growth to leverage economies of scale, allowing us to maintain quality of patient care efficiently while keeping costs under control,” she said.

Since Celtic uses technology on many different levels, this has also helped them keep costs in check without affecting patient care.

“We use this technology to optimize our staff’s valuable time. By utilizing technology-based communication tools, coordination of patient care, collaboration, scheduling, even travel time documentation are streamlined allowing for maximum time to be spent with the actual patient providing care,” she said.

Technology allows Celtic to not only have centralized information, but consistent, accurate information.  Effective use of technology ultimately allows Celtic to maintain their high standard of patient care.

“Our clinicians and other allied healthcare providers are vital to providing patient care.  They are the ones who are in homes, caring for patients and are our most valuable resource. Technology resources support us in optimizing what they do best,” Gilbert said.

“We recognize and understand that it is our job as the healthcare provider to keep up to date with the ever-changing laws and regulations in healthcare and not burden or allow it to affect our patients and their care,” said Gilbert.

“At the end of the day, it’s not the rules and regulations that our patients and their families care about.  What they ultimately care about is that they receive the best possible care from the nurse or therapist or home health aide walking in the door, and it is our duty to ensure this occurs,” she said.

To learn more about Celtic Healthcare, visit their website at www.celtichealthcare.com.

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