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
A recent Health Affairs blog post highlights an essay in the June 2014 issue of Health Affairs by an injured physician that "winds up in the emergency department, where providers put quality metrics and testing before her actual needs." The essay is also available as a podcast.
Her experience leads to revelations about quality metrics after receiving rehabilitation services (14:20).
OT isn't specifically mentioned but the essay/podcast identifies gaps in care that could be distinctly addressed by occupational therapy professionals across the continuum of care. Post a comment with your thoughts or contact me offline at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essay: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/33/6/1094.full (Subscription not required)
An excerpt of the essay was also published in the Health & Science Section of the Washington Post:
Hit by a car, an emergency doctor experiences firsthand the shortcomings in ER care