Break Room

“Obamacare’s Killer Burden on Nurses” – Did you read it?


Thinkstock / Wavebreakmedia

Thinkstock / Wavebreakmedia

Love it or hate it, agree with it or not, the Affordable Care Act is likely already affecting you at work. And it will only continue to grow, as new patients made the May 31 first payment deadline and started making appointments at the hospital.

Of course, there is a lot of good that can come from previously uninsured people finally getting the treatment they need. But it also requires more of you…as if you weren’t already giving enough!

Time magazine recently broke down the “killer burden” the Affordable Care Act has placed on nurses, and we’re very interested to hear what you think. Politics aside, we’d love to hear how the new healthcare laws are affecting your job and how you think things should work going forward. What works and what doesn’t?

Here are some key excerpts from the article (which is written by an RN!):

  • We’re told the goal of the new law is to remodel healthcare in the United States into a system that promotes wellness and prevention, rather than just providing care to sick people. This seems like a great objective, but I worry that the switch may compromise the quality of the care our patients receive.
  • As a bedside RN working at an acute care hospital in Oakland, California, I care for an incredibly diverse patient population. Most of my patients have had health insurance through employer-based programs, private purchase, or Medi-Cal. Most have interacted with the health care system prior to being admitted to my hospital. Now, I will take care of patients who are new to health care. Some haven’t had care in a long time (or ever). Some may have pre-existing conditions that enabled insurance companies to refuse them coverage. As they enter my care, their needs may be more complicated.

  • Executives at my hospital recently proposed reducing our inpatient nursing staff. They note that the number of patients admitted for overnight stays has decreased in the last few years. They say medical and surgical care has improved, and better primary care has kept patients healthy enough to avoid hospital admissions. The ACA permits hospitals to continue shifting patient care from the expensive inpatient setting to the cheaper—and more profitable—outpatient setting. The problem with that diagnosis? My patients are not healthier. 

  • Hospitals delaying and denying care to patients as the ACA enables more Americans to buy into this deeply flawed system. If the ACA is successful in contributing to keeping patients out of the hospital, inpatient care will be reserved for patients with acute, severe illnesses and the number of hospital nurses will drop dramatically. Meanwhile, other patients will be managed in the outpatient setting and more nurses will move into home health and advice nursing.

Read the entire story here, then tell us, which piece rings most true for you? What advice do YOU have for the government and your hospital in dealing with the new healthcare laws? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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