Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What the Affordable Care Act Means for You and GBMC

Maintaining personal wellness is a necessity for staying healthy. However, for some, keeping up with their preventive care is easier said than done when co-payments are high, they owe money out of pocket and physician offices are open only while patients themselves are at work. Regardless of the politics behind it, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has paved the way toward making healthcare much more affordable, coordinated and accessible. The goal of the PPACA is to provide better health and better care at a lower cost. Some of the provisions that will directly benefit patients include:

  • Certain preventive services and screenings must be provided free of charge. Women’s preventive services including mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and certain prenatal care are also more affordable and accessible.
  • Dependents who do not have insurance of their own can stay on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26.
  • Insurance coverage can’t be denied to individuals due to previously existing conditions.
  • Lifetime insurance payout maximums have been eliminated and the annual benefit limit is being phased out.

GBMC has already put special systems in place to provide the community with better health and better care at a lower cost under the new law. It has implemented electronic health records (EHR) to make healthcare information more easily accessible to its patients. EHRs also help eliminate unnecessary procedures by providing doctors with instant access to their patient’s health records. Additionally, the Greater Baltimore Health Alliance (GBHA) was developed to serve as GBMC’s Accountable Care Organization, which brings primary care and specialty providers in the area together using a common EHR system.

According to Colin Ward, Executive Director of GBHA, “By doing this, we’re able to communicate better and deliver more consistent care from primary care to specialty offices and even the Emergency Room, if the need ever arises.” GBMC is also in the process of transitioning to a more patient-centered and evidence-based model of care, focusing on prevention, wellness and the active management of chronic disease. Acting as “Patient-Centered Medical Homes,” its primary care practices strive to be resources for all healthcare concerns and needs. In addition to helping patients navigate the healthcare system, GBMC’s primary care locations offer access to the routine care they need to keep them well, with the added benefit of extended office hours. Selecting GBMC makes it easier than ever to stay healthy and keep up with preventive care, like physicals and screenings.

With many convenient locations throughout the Greater Baltimore area, preventive care is just a call or click away. To find a primary care physician at GBMC, visit www.gbmc.org/mydoctor or call 443-849-GBMC (4262).

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