Health Care Policies During The United States

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Throughout the past decade, changes in health care policy have had a momentous impact on the delivery of health care in the United States. The proposed emphasis on improving the cost, access, and quality of health care has come with many changes to how services are reimbursed, and this at times can come as both a benefit and a detriment to either the patient or the provider. Trustees from the Social Security Administration project that at the current rate of spending, the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund will be depleted by the year 2030, at which time revenues will be sufficient to pay 86 percent of HI costs.¹ As a result, Medicare has implemented new rules to regulate spending and control health care costs. I was given the opportunity to hear from Tricia Widenhoefer, a Manager of Inpatient Therapy Services at Parkview Hospital, about the ways in which these new health care policies have impacted care provided by physical therapists in the inpatient setting, as will be discussed throughout this paper. Tricia Widenhoefer, employed by Parkview Hospital in Indiana since 1998, is an experienced physical therapist who has worked her way up the ranks from lead physical therapist, to supervising physical therapist, all the way up to becoming Manager of Inpatient Therapy Services at Parkview Hospital.² Tricia oversees a staff of 70 individuals and her job responsibilities include managing the day to day operations, staffing, coverage, and providing performance
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