By 2014 about 32 million MORE people will be insured in the USA. These will include people of all walks of life, young and old, sick and healthy, the working and unemployed. For the first time in U.S. history, some form of health insurance will be mandated for every citizen.
It is logical to expect that each hand clinic will see an increase in the number of clients. Despite much speculation surrounding our practice, what remains difficult to ascertain is the type of coverage clients will have for hand therapy services. At best, we can expect to see the same type of coverage with which we are presently familiar. At worst, we must be prepared to see, less coverage and more restrictions.
What we know with certainty is that more people in need will be able to access care. Subsequently, we need to be prepared to serve a larger number of clients in future.
We therefore must adopt ways to be more efficient, more succinct in our care, and more targeted in our treatment plan to address clients functional needs. We need to employ treatments that have known outcomes. We need to capitalize on the tools that are available to us to be more productive. For example, by utilizing technology in providing comprehensive home programs, easing the burden and time of documentation, and providing client education. We need to hone our evaluative skills so that we can focus on the primary problem and provide timely treatment.
This will be a vast challenge that will require effort from each of us. I encourage each of you to have a discussion in your place of work about what you can do, individually and collectively to prepare for what is to come. We need to position ourselves to be ready, nimble and responsive to the legislative changes ahead.
With each new challenge comes new opportunities. What will ours be?