Health care leaders staying course post-election

Tuesday's outcome brought 'certainty that industry was looking for'

One might think many of the movers and shakers in the local health care sector would have been sitting near the edge of their seats Tuesday night, given the impact the election’s result could have had on their industry. But a non-scientific survey of a few local industry players revealed — perhaps differently than expected — a distinct sense of inevitability.

“The point now is that it doesn’t matter who won,” said Robert Chamberlain, CEO of health data management venture Applied Health Analytics. “Our model from the beginning has been on education, prevention and encouraging collaboration among providers and that’s what will continue.”

Like many local health care entities, Applied Health’s mission coincides nicely with the Affordable Care Act’s focus on outcomes — so changes aren’t in the offing now that President Obama has been re-elected.

Wayne Smith, the leader of Community Health Systems, said days before the election that if President Obama was re-elected, his team would continue their work to grow revenues. A win for Gov. Romney would have meant a cost-management approach was required. One of his peers, Dan Slipkovich, co-founder and CEO of Capella Healthcare, today said in a statement that the election has clarified some things and left others unchanged.

“The election eliminates the possibility that the ACA (Affordable Care Act) will be completely repealed, thus bringing the certainty that the healthcare industry was looking for,” Slipkovich wrote. “It does not, however, change the core fundamentals of what we must address in today’s market and that’s how to drive efficiency, manage and lower costs and create new ways to deliver superior care in the communities we serve.”

That delivery is all about population management, said John Deane, CEO and founder of Southwind Health Partners, an advisory firm now based in Washington, D.C, after its 2010 acquisition by Advisory Board Co.

Deane’s take was that the election's outcome creates a much higher degree of certainty the Affordable Care Act will not be repealed. In other words, it's full speed ahead.