Friday, July 6, 2012

VC's Notes

Published in VC's Notes on July 06, 2012
To keep Medical Center faculty, staff and students informed of changes impacting the institution, the vice chancellor’s office issues a series of weekly updates. You can provide your feedback, topic ideas and suggestions to us at vcnotes@umc.com. Thank you in advance for your interest.

 

Since the Supreme Court's historic decision last week to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health-care organizations and government officials have been working to determine the impact of the ruling.

The Supreme Court addressed the most contested issue of the health-care law - the individual mandate requiring Americans to purchase health insurance and the consequence for noncompliance. In a 5-4 decision, the court considered the consequence of failing to comply with the mandate to be a tax, which is within Congress' constitutional authority to levy. Because the individual mandate was considered constitutional, there was no need for the court to decide on other areas of the law.

Also, the court ruled that the ACA plan to expand Medicaid is constitutional, but that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to withhold Medicaid funds should a state choose not to comply with the expansion. Essentially, states are able to choose whether they want to participate in the expansion.

So how does this law affect the University of Mississippi Medical Center? The short answer is we don't know at this point. We can't predict what will happen this fall with the presidential and congressional elections or what our state leaders in Mississippi will do.

What we do know is that the ACA will continue to roll out as planned over the next several years, and Medicaid, along with other payers, has been moving away from a fee-for-service system, where payment is determined based on the volume of services and tests provided, to a system that is focused on health-care results.

That is why you've been hearing a lot about the Medical Center's increased focus on the highest quality and most efficient health care possible to keep pace in this changing health-care climate. We will do our best to keep you informed of events as they develop.

While the Medical Center does not take an official position on the Supreme Court ruling, we join our country's 136 other academic medical centers in the commitment to improving the quality and affordability of health care, expanding primary care services to rural areas, addressing the needs of uninsured citizens, and increasing not only the number of medical school graduates but the supply of federally funded residency training positions. Irrespective of the ruling, UMMC, along with academic medical centers across the nation, will be leaders in creating a better health-care system for the benefit of all our citizens.



Follow me on Twitter @LAWoodwardMD