What risk managers can do now to prepare for ACA impact

The key to survival in the post-Affordable Care Act (ACA) world is to make sure the organization has a vigorous corporate enterprise risk management process, says James Ron Kennedy, MHA, ARM, AIC, vice president for risk management and patient safety at Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Co. (LAMMICO) in Metairie.

New risks must be identified and assessed, their potential severity scored, and appropriate risk management interventions initiated and monitored, he says.

“The corporate risk manager and corporate counsel should actively engage their board of directors in risk mapping and provide reports regarding the impact of risk management interventions,” Kennedy suggests.

Analyzing and updating staffing will be critical in meeting the requirements of the ACA, says James A. Comodeca, JD, a partner with the law firm of Dinsmore in Cincinnati, OH. Hospitals and clinics must begin immediately to recruit and retain physicians and other providers, and the risk manager must ensure that standards are not lowered or corners cut in the vetting process, he says.

Unfortunately, hospitals simultaneously will be dealing with increasing budget pressures, notes Kevin Troutman, JD, an attorney with the law firm of Fisher and Phillips in Houston, TX

“These budget pressures will make it more difficult to acquire new equipment, implement new systems, and provide training as frequently as the hospitals would prefer,” Troutman says. “Nevertheless, hospitals should prepare by anticipating some increases in patient volumes and re-emphasizing effective documentation, including medical histories, especially for patients who are new to their healthcare systems.”