How your healthcare will change

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Updated: Fri, 20 Sep 2013 08:31:45 CST

Do you know how the upcoming Affordable Care Act will affect you?  From the cost you pay, to the care you receive, to the doctors by your side, all this month, News 5 will take a look at The Changing Face of Healthcare.

Nebraska is just days away from the October 1st enrollment opening for the new insurance public marketplace, aimed at providing coverage for the 48,000,000 uninsured Americans, including the more than 217,000 uninsured Nebraskans.

President Obama's Affordable Care Act will launch January 1st whether providers and patients are ready or not. 

And as Good Samaritan Hospital's Vice President of Ancillary & Support Services Rob Cunningham said, "Health care reform is certainly an evolution and necessarily a revolution of what it is that we do."

Through it's principle of making insurance more affordable, Obamacare will affect the plans available through both the public and private marketplace, but how will the healthcare reform affect the care you receive?

"If it evolves as designed, the care experience that patients have will be better. It will be less fragmented," said Dr. Michael Hein, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Saint Francis Medical Center.

"The four walls of the hospital, the four walls of the clinic, the four walls of the nursing home won't necessarily be the home of health care in the future," Cunningham added.

Instead, the focus is on those groups working together to make an overall healthier community.  And through that, the ACA will now provide hospitals incentives for the value of the care they give, not the number of heads in a bed.

"We get rewarded in some ways for providing high quality care at low costs and that may mean keeping people out of the hospital and caring for them at home for example," said Hein.

But what about the tangible differences?  To keep patients healthier, and shift the focus to outpatient care, Good Samaritan Hospital has built up their cardiac rehab.

"We have a full time respiratory therapist working in our fitness center on cardio pulmonary rehab. A year ago we had four patients in that program and today we have 26," Cunningham noted.

And with time, all health care providers will have programs and routines in place to keep patients well and out of the hospital's care.

"Over time, hospitalization will ultimately be seen in some ways as a failure of system. You know, it is sort of the last step and to be avoided at all possible," said Hein.