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What Healthcare Reform Looks Like - and Why It Matters

Posted 3 October 2013 12:00 AM by TCAuthor3

By Dean Gruner, MD, President and CEO, ThedaCare

Earlier I shared some thoughts about why healthcare reform was put in place. Ultimately it’s about improving the quality of your healthcare with more preventative measures while cutting the costs of care for all.

When patient Jean Rappold was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wasn’t thinking about healthcare reform. She took comfort in knowing a team of experts on our Tumor Board was planning her next treatment steps. “They were looking at my specific case, each from their professional perspective and expertise,” she explained. “It made me feel like I was getting personal attention; they were paying attention to my unique issues.” One thing that won’t change with healthcare reform is the quality of care you’ll find at ThedaCare.

But there will be other changes related to the new law that took effect in 2010 that placed comprehensive health insurance reforms for all Americans. In autumn of 2013 and 2014, significant new components of the law will go into effect. Getting there means that both patients and providers will be making a few changes.

The first thing to know about reform is how it affects healthcare coverage, meaning changes to insurance, ways to access insurance, costs of insurance, and how you might pay for it. It may be a bit confusing, but we’ll help you through it.

The second aspect of healthcare reform includes changes to your care. The law emphasizes high-quality care at low cost and asks caregivers to transparently share that information with patients. It’s something we’ve been focused on at ThedaCare for years.  We already report our quality data through the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) to show you how we compare with other organizations on key chronic and preventative measures. Take a look for yourself at http://www.thedacare.org/Why-Thedacare/Cost-and-Quality.aspx

The reform also changes how providers like ThedaCare get paid to deliver care. You might be surprised to know that on the payment side, ThedaCare has had the lowest price increases in all northeastern Wisconsin since 2004.

We want patients like Jean to feel confident that the quality of care they get from ThedaCare won’t change. As for the other changes, we’re ready for reform. We’ve got the experts, tools and systems in place to make the transition as seamless as we can for you and your family, including our recent collaboration with Mayo Clinic. For more information about healthcare reform, go to www.thedacare.org or http://e4healthwi.org.