California hospitals' readiness for changes under the Affordable Care Act varies across different regions, according to research by the Center for Studying Health System Change, FierceHealthcare reports (Caramenico, FierceHealthcare, 12/10).
The California HealthCare Foundation funded the research. CHCF publishes California Healthline.
Researchers analyzed health care markets in Fresno and the San Francisco Bay Area to gauge how the organization, financing and delivery of care have changed since HSC conducted similar research in 2008.
The Bay Area is one of the most affluent regions in the state, while the Fresno area is one of the least affluent.
Researchers conducted interviews with local health care officials in 2011 and 2012.
Bay Area Findings
According to the research, key developments in the Bay Area are:
- Expanded safety-net capacity;
- Increased collaboration between health plans and health care providers to form accountable care organizations;
- Increased collaboration between safety-net providers, particularly on care delivery improvements;
- Shifting alignments among providers and growing regionalization of provider networks;
- Substantial hospital construction to meet seismic safety standards; and
- A widened gap in financial performance between large health systems in affluent markets and smaller safety-net hospitals.
According to the research, key developments in the Fresno area are:
- Expanded clinic capacity falling short of demand in underserved communities;
- Increased focus on inpatient capacity;
- Limited preparations for implementation of the ACA;
- Limited progress in hospitals' efforts to coordinate care with physicians (HSC release, 12/10).