Unanswered Questions of ACA Implementation

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In just a week, I start my new position as Medical Director of Near North Health, a network of federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) with a 40-plus-year track record of providing comprehensive primary care services to historically marginalized communities throughout Chicago.

I’m especially excited to be doing so now, just months before full Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, and just days after the third anniversary of its passage. Come January 2014, numerous changes will affect health delivery and payment; innovations in patient centered medical homes (PCMH) and graduate medical education (GME, aka residencies); regulations and quality mandates. A great time to be at the forefront of health care leadership!

Serving on the Board of Directors for one of the largest professional medical organizations in the nation (the American Academy of Family Physicians), in addition to my role with Doctors Council SEIU, I’ve had the privilege to meet with, listen to, and learn from the brightest and most engaged people in health care. And I’m always surprised: whether it’s physician leaders or those at the top of the federal health agencies, no one quite knows what things will look like next year.

Below are just two vital questions, amongst many others, that burn through my mind; that keep me awake at night when I think of the challenges ahead; the unanswered questions of ACA implementation that I don’t hear spoken of enough (or at all). If you have answers (or speculation), please feel free to comment!
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How to maximize your voice in government…

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I spent the previous week in Washington, DC for the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Board of Directors meeting.

In addition to the important discussions regarding the direction of the Academy, we headed to Capitol Hill for legislative meetings one afternoon. I met with legislative directors in the office of Senator Kirk and Congressman Davis to discuss bills and issues affecting primary care, medical education, and our patients and communities.

Walking around our nation’s capital always brings me joy. From strolling past the White House to getting lost in the tunnels under the halls of Congress and Congressional offices, each visit reminds me of my only paid job outside of health care.
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