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 US government shutdown over

The US government's 16-day shutdown ended on October 16, with Congress passing a bill to reopen the government and raise the federal debt limit. This came just hours before the deadline to raise the USD 16.7 trillion limit. ObamaCare was a major focal point, with Republicans demanding that President Obama defund or delay it.  

"It was one more attempt to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act from moving forward," according to Joel J. Reich, MD, FACEP, MMM, CPE, SVP for Medical Affairs/Chief Medical Officer at Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN).  

"We have to look at the bigger picture. Nobody knows exactly how this law will play out over time, but it is clear what drove it in the first place. Our healthcare is the most expensive in the world by far. We may be first-rate in pure science and technology, but these services are not well-coordinated and are inaccessible to many people. Although you can get lost in the politics of the moment, in the bigger picture, there are many smart things about the direction that the ACA will take the country," Reich, who is a speaker at the marcus evans National Healthcare CMO/CMIO Summit 2014 went on to say.  

"Even if ObamaCare works moderately well, it will extend health insurance coverage to many more people, who will finally have access to doctors and hospitals without risking bankruptcy. Between the cost, accessibility and the big questions on providing value for what we spend, a change needed to happen," Reich added.  

If all of the other measures, such as Accountable Care Organizations, come to be as planned, organizations will be able to reduce waste and improve the value of the system. "It is all about the patient, their experience and the outcome of care for the money we spend," Reich highlighted.  

Reich concluded: "At this point, healthcare systems, hospitals and physician practices should be preparing for the future. First, they must understand the differences between our current system and how Accountable Care works. It is time to build on their electronic health record systems and data analytics capabilities. It is time to start working with those outside of the hospital walls, the community, home healthcare agencies, skilled nursing facilities and the patients� physicians. Clearly, the only way any of this will succeed is if we intelligently build a system that takes care of patients at home for as long as possible, providing as much support as we can out in the community, while reducing the need to have the most expensive care."  

The marcus evans National Healthcare CMO/CMIO Summit 2014 will take place at the Red Rock Resort & Spa, in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 6-7.  

For more information, please visit the event website:

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