The President is on the Line….

I was invited to participate in a call with President Obama this week regarding the Affordable Care Act. While on the call, I had what you might call a moment– “Was I really on a call with the President of the United States?” My second thought was, “Healthcare providers are in for a major wake up call.”

The ACA is the law of the land and whether you agree with it or not, it’s happening. As a leader, you have a choice: You can pretend that the ACA is going to go away and “sit it out” or you can lead by action and take the steps necessary to prepare your organization for the future of care.

For the past few months I’ve been meeting with thought leaders and participating quietly on calls with the Department of Health. At times, I felt like the calls were a waste of time as they were more about enrolling people in the healthcare exchanges- not necessarily my area of expertise. Yet I kept getting on the calls. My gut told me I needed to be there and now I know why. Phase I of the ACA is getting the uninsured, insured. With www.healthcare.gov fully functioning and enrolling people by the millions, the next phase, what I call Phase II is where the rubber meets the road and where our work really begins.

As of March 31st, the enrollment period will end. Those who are uninsured will not be able to enroll until the next enrollment period (next year). The focus is quickly going to shift to reducing healthcare cost with heightened focus on preventative care, reduced hospital readmissions, bundled payment systems, and outcomes. Like it or not, we have to get spending under control and from what I’m seeing, this is what Phase II is about.

HOW DOES THIS IMPACT YOU?

I realize this is a confusing time and that there is little direction in regards to what action steps to take right now. I’m doing everything I can to educate myself daily so that I can in turn educate you. My best advice is to do what you do best, Lead. There has never been a more important time to step up to the plate and lead your organization than this moment in time. So much is happening from increased regulation to the creation of hospital networks, the push toward home versus institutionalized care, technology integration, electronic medical records and more. Yet to effectively lead you must first understand what’s going on. Here is what I advise you to do:

  1. Go: Get involved with your state or national association of choice (www.ALFA.org, www.NCAL.org, www.LeadingAge.org ). Find out what they are doing to address these topics and learn as much as possible from them. If they are not providing education on these critical topics refer them to us here at Bild & Company and we’ll do our best to get a speaker to their next event (tbild@tracibild.com).
  2. Read: Devour everything you can in regards to how the ACA will affect the post-acute environment. At minimum, sign up for two different newsfeeds from organizations such as Senior Housing News (www.seniorhousingnews.com) or McKnights (www.McKnights.com). You can also go to Google Alerts and set up alerts on specific topics such as ACA impacts Post-Acute Care, etc. Any articles or content will show up in your in box once a day and from there you can determine what’s worthy of reading. If you are not signed up to get my Weekly Sales Memo weekly, do so now www.TraciBild.com.
  3. Get Involved: Join an executive mastermind group and become part of the solution. In fact, I’m launching a Healthcare Master Mind Group, which begins in May. If you are interested, send an email to tbild@tracbild.com and I’ll send you an application. While I would love to invite everyone to this mastermind, I will be reviewing applications and putting together a group of just ten people who are committed to finding real solutions. This means the willingness to take risk, try new things, brainstorm ideas, and share results others can learn from. This group will meet in person three times annually, over the phone twice monthly and check in weekly with their goals, actions, and stated accountabilities. Don’t worry- we will have a lot of fun too!

There are two ways to look at what’s happening to healthcare as we know it: You can be ruled by fear or energized by possibility. Like it or not, the world is moving on and leaders who understand that change is inevitable, who adapt, engage and lead the way will still be here, leading their companies into the next decade. I know it’s not easy and the truth is, change is hard. The only way to lessen the pain though is to get involved. I promise, once you do that pain will turn to gain, knowledge and power!

I’ll be speaking at TALA (TX) on April 10th, MALA (MI) on May 6th and at ALFA (AZ) in mid-May. Come check out my presentations and say hello! If you would like to meet in person to discuss strategies or ideas for your Company, send an email to my CEO Seth Garber at SGarber@TraciBild.com and we’ll set something up to meet. Until then, get started on these action steps.

Written by Traci Bild, Founder and Chairwoman Bild & Company

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