In all the talk about the Supreme Court’s impending health care reform ruling, one question is often overlooked: What might happen to the many patient safety and quality of care provisions sprinkled through the Affordable Care Act?
They include a new Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, more reporting of infections, injuries and mistakes in hospitals, and incentives for doctors and other providers to improve the care they provide. Those among the nation’s 50 million uninsured who manage to get health coverage will also get better medical care than piecemeal or nonexistent version they now receive.
We’ve been talking about quality of care on Facebook with more than 700 users who’ve joined our discussion group on patient safety.
The Supreme Court could uphold the entire health care law or kill it, extinguishing its quality initiatives. Or the court could strike down the mandate to buy insurance alone — a possibility that has long-time SCOTUS watchers on the edge of their seats. What then happens to the rest of the law no one really knows.
We asked some experts what’s at stake for patients. Here’s some of what they said:
Leaving uninsured Americans behind makes hospitals less safe — Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics, Case Western Reserve University
“Emergency rooms are really stretched because they provide the only source of care for millions of uninsured, which affects the quality of care for everyone. Hospitals are a place that should be a last resort. ...