As the Affordable Care Act begins (albeit extremely wobbly), you may find that how you practice and the types of patients you see probably will change in the coming months.
We’re going to look into our own crystal ball and give our – and only our – opinion regarding what those changes may be for healthcare travelers.
- You possibly could see more patients in a given day, at least in the first few months. As more patients gain access to health insurance, they more than likely will make more trips – or even their first trips – to a healthcare provider for routine care such as wellness checkups, mammograms, PAP smears, prostate exams, and so on. You may see more patients each day as a result as your assignment hospital figures out how to deal with more patients needing more routine care.
- Since more people probably will seek routine medical care, you can expect an uptick in the number of travel assignments you may receive. Or, to put it another way, you may find that the time between assignments becomes shorter because hospitals and medical clinics could be scrambling to accommodate the influx of patients and will need more healthcare professionals quickly.
- You may find that hospitals that you’ve worked with in the past will be clamoring for your services (they’d rather work with a proven entity than an unknown new traveler).
- You may find that many assignments pop up in rural areas. This is because rural areas may be hit harder from an influx of patients because of the already relative shortages of physicians and even hospitals in some areas. Travel staffing firms may be called upon to help provide much needed additional help to these rural communities.
- You may find that you’re treating fewer immigrants. People in the U.S. illegally are not eligible for coverage under the insurance exchanges. This means undocumented immigrants probably will remain uninsured and therefore they may not have as much access to healthcare as hospitals/ERs, etc. meet the demand of a larger insured population.
- You may also come across patients who are very confused about their coverage, how much it costs, how much copay they will have to pay for their care, etc. They may ask you questions. The chances that you’ll know the full and correct answers are slim (after all, you may be traveling from a state that provides insurance via the federal exchange to a state that has its own healthcare exchange), so it’s best if you refer the patient to someone in the office or hospital who could help answer the patient’s questions.
We predict that the ACA will be a huge boon to those who desire to work as a healthcare traveler. Demand will be higher and time between assignments will be shorter (unless you want to take some time off between assignments; you have the flexibility to do so, if you choose). That being the case, if you’re at all interested in learning more about a career as a traveler, don’t hesitate to contact the recruiters at MedPro Healthcare Staffing!