Conversations around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its effect on hospitals have often covered readmissions and health insurance exchanges. Another outcome for hospitals and patients, however, has been the effect the law has had on population health.
Many institutions devoted significant resources toward improving community health before the law, which has required tax-exempt hospitals to produce community health need assessments and implementation strategies.
The ACA has qualified work being planned or executed by health systems already in tune with community needs. As more and more organizations have reflected on their level of engagement in community health programs, the ACA has provided significant guidance and motivation.