A Message from David L. Bernd, CEO, Sentara Healthcare
We are witnessing history with the U.S. Supreme Court making this monumental ruling today on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
The law as it currently exists will continue to be fully implemented in the next couple of years. The law was upheld in a 5-4 vote with the deciding vote cast by Chief Justice Roberts. The individual mandate requiring all Americans who can afford it to purchase health insurance is viewed by the Supreme Court as a tax, falling under the provisions of the tax code.
Starting in 2014, health care coverage may be possible for 32 million Americans without health insurance today including nearly 880,000 Virginians.
It’s difficult to predict the far reaching results of today’s ruling. But what the U.S. Supreme Court decision doesn’t change is our strategic direction. Sentara is well positioned for the ripples of this decision because of our vision and strength as an integrated system.
With changes coming with how payments are made to providers, having Optima Health puts us at an incredible advantage. This team gives us in-house skills, software, and know-how to better predict and manage health needs of large groups efficiently.
The Supreme Court Decision also doesn’t change that we will continue following the imperatives set forth in our Strategic Plan: To be in the Top 10% for quality, patient safety and customer service, To Transform Care, and To Pursue Growth.
Growth is still an imperative giving us scale to afford the infrastructure demands we’ve envisioned to improve care and patient experiences. Regardless of the decision, progressive systems like Sentara continue to be focused on providing the Institute of Medicine’s Triple Aim of Care—Better Health, Better Care (including patient experience, quality and access), and at Lower Costs. Achieving our strategic imperatives will help provide better health, better care at improved costs for our patients now and in the future.
As an integrated system, we’re on a path to meet steeper challenges now facing all providers like aging baby boomers, increased health care providers retiring, advent of costly technology, and calls for more coordinated care with payment based on health outcomes rather than number of procedures performed.
Our strategic vision is now bearing fruit. Because of work already underway, we’re ready for what is coming. From primary care offices and urgent care centers to inpatient hospital stays and long-term care, teams are improving how care is delivered. Using a component of smart room technology, we are starting to schedule inpatient procedures taking more than 30 minutes to improve customer service and efficiencies. We are tackling chronic disease management and having incredible success keeping cardiac patients from being readmitted unnecessarily. We are improving hospital care through clinical effectiveness councils, and multidisciplinary teams are improving end of life care across numerous care settings through Advance Care Planning efforts.
Before electronic medical records were a national priority, we launched the Sentara eCare Network to improve quality and communications across all care settings and that system continues to stimulate countless new ways of improving care and quality.
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the strategic vision Sentara has taken over the years, and your exceptional teamwork has contributed to making these visions a reality. We know we continue to improve care and processes no matter what the fallout of this decision is. And most importantly, Sentara will continue to provide exceptional health care to those who need it most, regardless of their ability to pay.