The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to simply as the ACA or Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The ACA is intended to expand access to health insurance coverage for millions of uninsured Americans by expanding eligibility for Medicaid and developing health insurance marketplaces where uninsured persons may be eligible for subsidies to make private health plans more affordable. While expanding access to health insurance is a big part of the ACA, there are many other purposes of the law, including provisions intended to reform the health care delivery system to produce better patient outcomes at lower cost.
AOTA was very active in the legislative process leading up to the passage and signing of the ACA, working to achieve victories such as inclusion of rehabilitation and habilitation in the essential health benefits package. AOTA has also been monitorting the regulatory process at the federal and state levels as the ACA has been implemented, and has been advocating for occupational therapy practitioners and consumers. The dynamic environment created by health care reform creates opportunities, but vigilant monitoring of implementation activities and carefully executed advocacy efforts are necessary to ensure occupational therapy is valued and protected in the future.
Please also see the Health Care Reform Implementation page on AOTA's website at: http://www.aota.org/Advocacy-Policy/Health-Care-Reform.aspx
On March 24, 2014, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) will release its new standards for recognition as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). A good summary is available here, based on NCQA's "sneak peek." PCMHs are new models for delivering primary care services that place a focus on interprofessional team-based care to achieve improved measures of patient satisfaction, reduced costs, and improved clinical outcomes. AOTA has been working on developing new roles for OT practitioners in primary care (more on that here), and practices that adopt the PCMH as their delivery model may present opportunities for OT to demonstrate its value in primary care.
Glad NCQA has gotten on board with PCMH. Joint Commission established a PCMH accreditation in 2011. See: www.jointcommission.org/.../default.aspx
Carol, the title of the post was perhaps not ideal. The NCQA recognition standards that are about to be released are really an update of their standards that were released in 2011. And the 2011 standards were an update of standards from 2008, so NCQA has been in the game for a while. It's interesting that the Joint Commission refers to the model as a "Primary Care Medical Home." I haven't seen that before.
There's an interesting comparison of the two programs at the following link:
It looks like the Joint Commission has about 1,100 accredited sites.
I can't find a national number for NCQA-recognized PCMHs under the 2011 standards, but their database lists over 2,600 in California alone. From what I've seen and heard, NCQA seems to be the dominant standard so far.