Health Policy$ense

Misplaced concerns over the ACA's impact on patient volume

In a new blog post, LDI Executive Director Dan Polsky discusses the limited impact the ACA has had, thus far, on patient volume, and contrasts that with the potentially dramatic impact it can have on people previously uninsured. 

He comments on a new report from athenahealth on its network of more than 52,000 providers across the country.  In partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), it has produced ACAView—periodic updates on what athenahealth is seeing on its network. On July 14 athenahealth and the RWJF released ACAView’s first comprehensive report, which found no increase in patient volume over the first five months of 2014.  Polsky notes:

This is new information. Most timely monitoring of the impact of ACA coverage expansions has come from household surveys. Monitoring utilization in real time with provider data offers a glimpse into something everyone is curious about. In particular, physicians are feeling a lot of uncertainty around the ACA and this report replaces the speculation and anecdote with facts on how physician visits have changed over the past few months.

Read the entire post on athenahealth’s Health Leadership Forum.