What Endocrinologists Can Expect From Obamacare

Healthcare reform is already presenting new challenges and opportunities for endocrinology, a specialty that is under significant stress in the United States. A critical workforce shortage has drained the pool of practicing endocrinologists, just as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is expected to send millions of newly insured people into the system.

Healthcare reform is already presenting new challenges and opportunities for endocrinology, a specialty that is under significant stress in the United States. A critical workforce shortage has drained the pool of practicing endocrinologists, just as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is expected to send millions of newly insured people into the system.

If patients need specialty endocrine care, some experts predict that they will face lengthy waits. "Patients may be able to gain access to an insurance card, but not necessarily access to a physician," says Jonathan D. Leffert, MD, an endocrinologist in private practice in Dallas, Texas, and secretary of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist.

At the same time, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which was created by the ACA, is testing promising new methods of healthcare delivery.Endocrinologists involved in these experiments, which include Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and patient-centered medical neighborhoods (PCMNs), report that these new models -- which aim to boost care coordination, lower costs, and improve access -- are tailor-made for endocrinology, a specialty that must maximize its resources.

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Source: Medscape