Keeping in the Loop Post-Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Written by: Terri Ottosen, Consumer Health Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), Southeastern/Atlantic Region (SE/A). You can contact Terri at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this era of health care reform following the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are many challenges and opportunities for libraries to engage the public and help them become more active partners in their health care. Consumers need resources and assistance to fully utilize the benefits of and understand the complexities of health care. For libraries serving hospitals or other health care organizations, libraries can assist in efforts needed to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the ACA. Even if you’re unable to actively participate now, simply keeping up with the issues and news about the ACA and health care reform is a way we can continually assess and create new opportunities for the library to be involved.
Subscribing to newsletters or electronic discussion lists that alert users to webinars or other learning resources is a great way to keep up with the changes and requirements of institutions, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Learning Network (MLN). Here, for example, is a webinar for participants on ACA Provider Compliance Programs entitled “Affordable Care Act Provider Compliance Programs: Getting Started.” Fierce Healthcare released an interesting report titled, “Healthcare compliance post-ACA: Challenges and Opportunities [Special Report].” This report focused on the challenges and opportunities organizations face regarding ACA compliance; specifically the increased role that Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) are undertaking to comply with the intense regulation expectations and the large number of disciplines this needs to incorporate.
For those serving consumers, OCLC’s WebJunction has a program devoted to the role of libraries as key resources and contributors to community health. “Health Happens in Libraries” supports public library staff with resources to respond confidently to requests for health information. The program is run in partnership with ZeroDivide and is funded from a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. They provide many great tools and resources, including regular webinars and ideas for getting involved, regardless of the type of library in which you work. Please visit, “Health Happens in Libraries” to get more information. Additionally, the American Library Association has a site dedicated to the Affordable Care Act and further resources.
The Affordable Care Act continues to provide many opportunities for libraries to support internal staff and the public as well as provide outreach as an engaged partner in health care. It’s important that librarians continue to be informed and remain in the loop with changes, trends, and opportunities that the health care law and reform provide as we go forward. Please consider additional ways that you can be involved.