How will Donald Trump’s presidency affect healthcare? 6 hospital executives & physicians respond

Donald Trump became the president-elect on Nov. 9, and executives from the healthcare industry are preparing for his presidency. Mr. Trump ran on a platform to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and transforming Medicare into a block grant to the states, among other policies.

Here is how these hospital executives and physicians are planning for the future:

Daniel Ahern, Senior Vice President Strategy & Business Development, Reading Health (West Reading, Pa.): “As part of our ongoing strategic planning process, we continue to focus on the needs of the community across the continuum of care. Where gaps are identified, we invest in facilities, clinical experience and leadership, technologies and people to yield high-quality, high-value care.

For example, Reading HealthPlex is a 476,000-square-foot surgical and inpatient facility investment that allows us to continue to provide state-of the-art care in 24 operating suites, eight procedure suites, 150 new private patient rooms and an expansion of our emergency and trauma centers. The facility provides the necessary infrastructure to expand our surgical capabilities while investing in clinical providers to provide top-rated care resulting in continued recognition as evidenced by our quality awards. Leveraging our investment in technology, in areas such as telemedicine, offers the opportunity to enhance value-based care for targeted populations while increasing access to care.”

Alejandro Badia, MD, Co-Founder and Medical Director of OrthoNOW (Miami): “The Affordable Care Act created a climate that encouraged entrepreneurial thinkers to activate new and disruptive methods of healthcare delivery. These innovations provided better outcomes, lower costs, improved patient experiences and improved clinician experiences. We should expect the innovations that emerged during that time, like access to specialized care on-demand, to remain viable options as we look to the future regardless of any actions that would repeal or modify the ACA.”

Daniel DeBehnke, MD, MBA, CEO at Nebraska Medicine (Omaha): “From a healthcare standpoint, what will be key moving forward will be how the president-elect fills his key administrative positions, such as the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Administrator of CMS, as these individuals will be important advisors to the administration. With respect to the campaign promise of repealing the ACA, this will be difficult as it could leave millions of Americans without coverage. He will need to tread carefully. It will be interesting to see how President-Elect Trump interacts with Republican healthcare policy expert Paul Ryan. The first 100 days of the Trump administration will be very important to watch.”

Ira Kirschenbaum, MD, Chairman, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center (New York): “Obamacare represented a radical shift in healthcare in this country. With a Republican president and a Republican Congress, there’s no doubt that this will at least be modified. Unfortunately, we’re not exactly sure what those modifications are going to bring. I don’t feel Obamacare will be repealed, but certainly there are going to be lively discussions in Congress and in the industry about how it should be modified. The key will be that Trump convenes the right people to help lead the discussion.”

Stephen Klasko, MD, President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health (Philadelphia): “Over one year, it is a matter of living in a twilight zone between fee-for-service and fee-for-value. While everyone talks about moving from volume to value over the next year, most of our income is from fee-for-service so we have to live with being penalized for doing the right thing. Over five years, at Jefferson we are counting on a combination of millennials who value technology over loyalty beginning to access healthcare as well as doubling down on our from ‘Blockbuster to Netflix’ strategy of moving care out to where people are. This requires a combination of providing university-level care in our community hospitals, telehealth, partnerships with companies like IBM Watson Health and bringing ‘hospitality’ back to the ‘hospital’ business.

I believe we overestimate the effect of health policy on our strategy and underestimate the hard work and disruption that is needed in how we deliver healthcare regardless of Democratic or Republican healthcare policy. In essence the Affordable Care Act provided more people access to a broken, expensive, fragmented, inefficient, inequitable and occasionally unsafe healthcare delivery system, and hoped that the healthcare delivery system would self-correct. As I wrote in my recently published book, We Can Fix Healthcare: The Future Is Now, regardless of who wins the presidency we will need to provide better access with greater quality at a reduced cost and significantly enhanced patient experience. If we do that, we will succeed in an ACA world, a health systems accounts world, an interstate portable insurance world or a single-payer world.”

Paul Wood, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of UPMC: “Although the results of this election would certainly point to changes in the Affordable Care Act, it’s uncertain at this time what those might be. We will be watching the legislative landscape closely, and, as UPMC has demonstrated repeatedly, we will be prepared to adjust as needed to serve our patients and members. It’s important to remember that more than 20 million people are newly insured as a result of the ACA, and we will do whatever we can to provide affordable, high-quality healthcare under a new administration.”

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