Viewpoint: 2012 has been a year of unprecedented change in healthcare

2012 might rank as the biggest year of change in the history of healthcare. A survey of your fellow physicians provides insight on the resilience of the medical profession.

A decade ago, patients were paying just 1% of their healthcare costs. Now, according to a consultant in this month's article titled "ACA adds new layers of complexity to revenue cycle management" on page 47, those costs have mushroomed to 30% in some cases. At the same time, the government is expanding access to care to an estimated 32 million of the 50 million uninsured Americans through the ACA. It will open up new revenue to some practices and hospitals, and it will undoubtedly affect the numbers of patients primary care physicians (PCPs) will see in the future. In some cases, the increases will be dramatic, especially in regions such as the South, home to the largest segment of uninsured Americans (22 million), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Despite all the concern about the economic future, one piece of data from this Medical Economics survey underscores why this profession remains so resilient and well-respected. You are most concerned about the welfare of your patients. It's the number one reason you practice medicine, and it's an area you still find the most rewarding. From my perspective, that finding is worth celebrating.

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