The beginning of a new year is a perfect opportunity for organizations to check their alignment with their mission, assess the culture around them and adjust accordingly for the coming months as necessary. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve and discussions regarding the federal protections and rights of faith-based organizations are ongoing, leaders in faith-based healthcare must stay abreast of shifting trends and policy implications. With a new year will come a new president and a change in party affiliation, and considering these factors along with the President-Elect’s disapproval of the Affordable Care Act, many changes may be on the horizon. There are three important questions healthcare leaders should consider when moving into 2017:

1.  How Will ACA Changes Impact Mission Integration?

The national healthcare climate has been in flux for the last several years, but with changing leadership in 2017, major changes remain an even stronger possibility. Keeping your faith-based healthcare organization’s mission at the center of every decision made in a potentially chaotic environment will be crucial for maintaining and growing the level of impact you have on the community around you. There are several possible issues to keep in mind when planning for 2017: will some mission measures (i.e. obesity rates, healthy lifestyles, teen pregnancy rates) from 2016 suffice if the Affordable Care Act is either replaced or significantly altered? Or will they need to be adjusted to account for the changes?

If and when these changes are made, will a previously uninsured person who became insured under Affordable Care Act continue to be cared for by your organization while in limbo? Will your mission continue to focus on keeping that person’s healthcare seamless?

Having a flexible plan for what to do and how your organization will react in the face of any significant shifts that occur and making sure it is in line with your specific mission will instill confidence in your team and your patients, knowing that you are prepared and committed to serving your community well despite the ups and downs of the national healthcare system.

2.  Will There Be A Shift from Value-Based Purchasing?

If some aspects of the Affordable Care Act are reversed or removed, it may influence the “Value Based Purchasing” approach Medicare has adopted. If the system becomes more free-market based, how will your organization stand out? What will make your hospital more valuable than the others? These are questions to discuss and consider when planning for the coming year. How will your organization go above and beyond to provide excellent care and impact the community?  Consider ways to highlight your faith-based mission and culture as a competitive differentiator.

3.  Will There Be A More Conservative Supreme Court?

President-Elect Donald Trump will be appointing judges to the Supreme Court, expected to result in a more conservative Court and viewpoint when ruling on cases. Faith-based organizations must take this into consideration going into the new year. In 2016, we projected more governmental interference on the matter of faith-based organizations’ freedom to operate consistent with their beliefs, which came to fruition. This influence may have played a role in the 2016 election, but now the outcome may be that interference efforts stall or are reversed. Issues like exemption from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and exemption from providing coverage or surgeries for contraception will likely be top-of-mind as these changes occur, and your organization should be prepared to respond in alignment with your mission.

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