2013 Health Safety Net Symposium Preview: The Importance of Community Care After the ACA

2013 Health Safety Net Symposium Preview: The Importance of Community Care After the ACA

Paul Propson, executive director of Covenant Community Care, is wary of Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) ability to insure everyone. He cites a study from Massachusetts, where a version of the ACA has been in place for several years, that showed only a 10 percent reduction in the states uninsured population after five years of health care reform, a much lower than anticipated result.

He acknowledges some people will continue to be without health insurance for a variety of reasons, and there will continue to be a need for a healthy safety net of Community Care clinics like Covenant for people to receive their primary health care.

Propson is a featured speaker at this year’s Healthy Safety Net Symposium being held Sept. 12 at the Lansing Radisson Hotel.

Propson will be speaking on dealing with expectations after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is implemented. More specifically, he will be talking about what happens to our uninsured population after the exchanges open, as well as during and after the enrollment period. The focus is on reaching out to and assisting those who have been labeled as “the other 50 percent.”

The reasons for such a discrepancy from projected goals are many, but result primarily from a lack of understanding from both patients and providers. As Propson sees it, the ACA creates as many questions and issues as it solves. They key to navigating these new, uncharted waters will lie in education on both sides of the great insurance divide.

He stresses communication about qualifications, enrollment times, dates, penalties and periods between both sides will help everyone involved as the transitions are made. Many simply do not understand that they already qualify for certain programs, with as many as 25 percent of those who qualify for Medicaid not currently enrolled.

This is exactly why Propson sees the role community clinics play as critical. To that end, Propson has Covenant poised to open a new site in an effort to increase capacity and assist those on both sides of the insurance divide. Other clinics are increasing staff to support the transition too. At Covenant, the entire staff will be educated on the ins and outs of the new insurance landscape. Five staff members will serve exclusively to assist individuals as they learn what opportunities are available to them and how best to apply and transition.

Photo credit: Tom Hart

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