By Anna Gorman
Kaiser Health News
SAN MATEO — Little surprises Lynda Sutherland, who has been a licensed vocational nurse for 35 years at San Mateo Medical Center. But in the past few years, Sutherland said, she’s been surprised by what’s missing: the patients who used to return again and again to the public hospital for the same ailments.
“They’re just not coming back,” she said.
Spurred by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), medical centers like this one have overhauled the way they deliver care in an effort to keep patients healthier and out of hospital beds. They have connected newly insured patients with primary care doctors in outpatient clinics, helped them manage chronic diseases and tried to reduce their reliance on emergency rooms for routine care.
Now, with President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans pledging to repeal Obamacare, such hospitals fear the gains they have made could be lost or diminished. In particular, they worry that if patients lose health insurance, their revenue will fall — to the detriment of the patients, the hospital staff and the community. [Read more…]