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DiversityRX Panel: Implementing the Affordable Care Act

14 Mar

The implementation and implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are complex subjects that leave many of us feeling somewhat overwhelmed.  This year’s DiversityRX conference brought together a panel of some of the leading thinkers on the subject of the ACA and its potential impact on limited English proficient patients and their families.

Mara Youdelman, from National Health Law Program, spoke about how the ACA might potentially improve language access on a large scale, for example, by ensuring that the new state and federal exchanges operate in a manner that will be effective for uninsured non-English speakers.  But she also identified concerns about potential pitfalls, such as inadequate data collection criteria, which could limit access for LEPs, and made suggestions about raising these concerns with decision-makers.

Ignatius Bau, a health policy consultant, discussed the next level of ACA implementation including how new treatment models, like the patient-centered medical home, will be more viable given the ACA focus on quality of care and improved outcomes.  He indicated that the end result could mean real benefits for a range of traditionally underserved populations.

Sherry Hirota and Thu Quach, from Asian Health Services, then presented on the ACA’s potential impact on community health centers that traditionally serve lower income and LEP communities.  They illustrated how risk adjustment methodologies, often used to determine funding, may not take into account income level and the need to receive services in English, and how this may result in reduced funding for community centers.

After the presentations and thirty minutes of active Q&A, I felt much better equipped to think about the ACA from a range of perspectives. This panel was the type of high quality experience that makes the DiversityRX conference a must attend event and I highly recommend following the link below for more information about the presentations.

Language Access and Healthcare Reform: Opportunities and Challenges.  Mara Youdelman, JD, LLM, National Health Law Program

How Patient-Centered Medical Homes Can Advance Health Equity.  Ignatius Bau, Health Policy Consultant

Considering Language and Economic Barriers in Risk Adjustment: A Community Health Center Perspective.  Sherry Hirota and Thu Quatch, Asian Health Services

Learn how quality language services impact executive-level priorities in healthcare  Download Whitepaper