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Health care providers optimistic but losing confidence in ACA according to study

While more than three-quarters of health care providers express optimism about the future of U.S. health care overall, support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has lessened according to a new study by Mortenson, one of the leading health care contractors in the United States.

 The number of health care providers who feel positive about the ACA has fallen significantly in just one year’s time with a much smaller majority believing the ACA is a step forward for U.S. health care. Even as providers become accustomed to the provisions of the ACA, nearly 8 out of 10 feel the legislation needs significant changes or revisions.

According to the 2015 Mortenson study, health care providers are losing confidence that the ACA can deliver its key objective: to provide affordable health care. Only a third of the providers believe that the ACA will lower the per-patient cost of health care, down from two-thirds last year. Despite concerns regarding the efficacy of the ACA, a majority of providers remain upbeat and express confidence in several other factors they believe can improve patient outcomes such as facility design, information technology, waste and energy reduction, and environmental improvements.

Many providers are also confident that transparency and involvement of patients in their wellness will lead to better health care in the long run. They acknowledge that the ACA – by causing providers to rethink how they provide services – will improve care over time. Nearly 70 percent of health care providers surveyed believe the ACA will succeed in shifting reimbursements from “fee for service” to “quality of outcomes,” which represents a dramatic change for the health care industry.

“The health care market is still in the process of adapting to a new normal,” says Bob Nartonis, senior vice president and national health care market leader at Mortenson. “There are several challenging dynamics facing health care service providers today but they are optimistic as a whole. We are encouraged to see health care facility design, interest in the patient experience, and changes in technology continuing to drive innovation in the market.”

Other insights:

  • Technological change and innovation is driving the future of health care with the virtual world playing a more important role in the administration of care. In fact, a majority believe smartphone-linked devices and virtual care will be common for patients in the next three years.
  • Fifty-four percent of health care providers believe improving the physical health care facility environment has a substantial impact on patient outcomes.
  • Over one-third of providers plan to increase facility investments over the next two years including ambulatory care facilities and medical office buildings.

Nearly all health care provider respondents believe there is opportunity to eliminate waste and reduce energy within health care facilities.

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