The Affordable Care Act and Emergency Rooms

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The Affordable Care Act and Emergency Rooms
Medical reform has been a long standing goal of the more liberal elements of our society. Their vision of universal health care took a step forward with the implementation of Affordable Care Act. Health care facilities, and specifically emergency rooms, already operate under the most stringent guidelines. The new regulatory and financial demands placed upon these facilities created by the Affordable Care Act looks to cause a crisis in medical facility management. Facility administrators are now faced with the challenges of significantly larger patient volumes, smaller staff sizes, rationing directives, and insurance regulatory complexity. The increased number of patients now covered by the Affordable Care Act will have a detrimental effect on hospital emergency rooms and services, creating a significantly larger burden on Health Care Administrators.
The American Hospital System
In the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, the average person was treated within their own home for many of the illnesses that now send us rushing off to the doctor’s office or the hospital. Doctors were only called upon for extreme situations or epidemics, and for the most part, they made house calls. This was only possible because of low population densities in early America and the relatively primitive state of medical science. As time passed hospitals began to follow American settlement westward providing more centralized and specialized care for injury and illness that formerly meant certain death. Early American hospitals began as charitable institutions dedicated to caring for the urban poor, orphans, immigrants and seamen (National Association of Public Hospitals, 2012). Many of these hospitals were located outside of the cities where the sick could be isolated from the rest of the community. This helped in the prevention of the spread of disease should an outbreak occur as well.
As the country developed and matured, so did the medical community. Hospitals became places of healing rather than just a place to send the undesirable or people to die. As medical knowledge expanded and more public funds became available, they developed into more specialized treatment facilities, eventually turning into the medical centers that we all know today (Sultz & Young, 2011, p. 66). Hospitals were now designated care facilities, with some dedicated to the care of the general public, while others were dedicated to caring for the mentally ill. Many of these hospitals were funded by both public and private funds and were typically overseen by religious orders (Sultz & Young, p. 67).
As time went by, wars were fought and veterans came home wounded and disabled. A new type of hospital was founded to cater to their specific needs (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, n.d.). Advancements in medicine eventually made it possible to save more lives that were lost, and rehabilitation hospitals were soon...

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