CLEVELAND -- The fiscal cliff represents the country coming to terms with its current economic status, but if Congress doesn't come to compromise, impending cuts will have a definite impact on healthcare, especially hospitals and long term care facilities.
"Make no mistake about it there are going to be serious choices we have to make which could impact patients, there's no doubt of that. How, we're not sure," says Dr. Michael Nochomovitz, President of University Hospitals Physician Services.
He says the 2% cut in healthcare will impact education, patient care and the traditional way doctors are paid but most health systems have been planning for the inevitable.
"We've been positioning ourselves for the new healthcare, which will have us doing more with less and also doing things differently. That does not mean that it's going to be worse, in some cases it may be better," Dr. Nochomovitz says.
He adds that because of our regional medical centers, locally we may not feel the cuts as severely, however there is a primary care doctor shortage so expect it to take weeks to get an appointment.
"So we can expect to see more nurse practitioners, more nurses, more physicians assistants, more urgent care centers, more clinics in the workplace and more programs relating to wellness and prevention and alternative and integrated medicine," Dr. Nochomovitz says.
Scientific research may feel the pinch too from the 8% across the board cut to the National Institutes of Health. A funding source that pays for dozens of local research projects. So private charitable donations will be vitally important to get research out of the lab and to the bedside.