With the inauguration of President Obama, kicking off his second term later on this month, there is going to be a lot of discussion about moving forward with the Affordable Care Act, bringing in the health care reforms that were initiated in his first term. Whether you agree with those things or not, they’re going to happen.

Health Reform and EMS

Doctor_BrainHalvesSo how are they going to affect us in EMS? How are they going to affect healthcare systems around the country. One of the things that is going to happen is the states are going to have to provide some form of safety net, expanding their Medicaid systems and providing other resources for people that cannot currently afford insurance.

These individuals will be provided some form of state assisted insurance. Under the new plan, when that happens, these people are going to have to find a primary care resource. In some places, they may not be able to find primary care and may end up using the EMS system, much as they are now.

Overall, I think this actually will take some of the strain off of our systems. I’m hoping that many of these people will find primary care resources such as physicians and nurse practitioners. We may be able to redirect them to urgent care centers rather than to emergency departments, however it is something to keep in mind that there may not be enough primary care resources for all.

Taking Strain Off Emergency Department

Some will continue to use the emergency department as primary care and one of the things we should be actively involved with in our communities is being an advocate for finding these patients a primary care physician or nurse practitioner that can help them before they need to call 911 or visit the ER. We need to start engaging in our communities to find ways to provide these people things like transportation to a primary care physician’s office when they need it.

I think that that’s something that is incumbent upon us in EMS, finding a way to provide these people some resources in the community that will provide them an opportunity to not have to access the emergency department and the EMS system. I will continue to follow up on this as the new health program continues to rollout through 2013 and 2014.

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Follow-up on the links for this news item and all the links for news and additional resources in the shownotes for this episode — EMS Adenosine Med Review and Episode 315.

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