There probably wasn’t ever a time when hospitals weren’t presented with some of the very same challenges as they are faced with today. However, these issues are significantly increased due to a much larger population, technology, and laws implemented in an effort to provide better patient-centered care, as well as an extreme shortage of qualified staff. The three biggest challenges hospitals face today are as follows.

1. The Reduction of Costs to Make Care Affordable but Assure Profitability

Although technology has radically improved the quality of healthcare available, it also comes with a very high price tag. In recent years there seems to be a tension between offering advanced technology and the ability to pay for it because there is a growing emphasis on providing affordable healthcare to the masses.

The Affordable Care Act has presented major issues for hospitals seeking to be compliant with healthcare law. Since laws are continually changing, most hospitals require one or more administrative staff members to have a minimum of a masters in health law to ensure the hospital stays within the guidelines of mandated health law and policy.

2. The Challenge of Transitioning from Volume to Value-Based Healthcare

This leads to the next challenge that is big on the lists of those who replied to a survey conducted by Becker’s Hospital Review. There is a huge push towards offering value-based healthcare whereas in the past hospitals sought to offer care to the largest number of patients in order to keep profits high. Again, due to the Affordable Care Act, this has become extremely difficult to do because hospitals are mandated to offer state-of-the-art care, but to also accept greatly reduced payments by insurers that signed onto Obamacare. Government actually imposes a ceiling on any fees collected by an institution that receives federal money, including Obamacare plans and Medicaid which, in turn, makes it almost impossible to collect sums large enough to finance the technology and staff necessary for a value-based patient care system.

3. Meeting the Challenge of Continual Changes in Legislation

This, then, leads to the next biggest and perhaps the greatest challenge hospitals face today, which is the continual changes in legislation. From the pre-Obamacare days of just a few short years ago until the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016, there have been a number of changes hospitals must institute based on Obamacare regulations. Alongside this they are losing insurers unwilling to continue losing money by being a part of the plan. With a new administration on the horizon and the expectation that Obamacare will be repealed, this means that hospitals will be even more reliant on those with a masters in health law just to keep up with the changes in healthcare laws and policies..

These are the biggest challenges hospitals face today, but they are widespread enough to make them a major concern for the industry. In all, most are related to federal rules and regulations. Anyone looking for a career in a major medical institution would do well to get an advanced degree in health law and policy.