This post was written by Ferd H. Mitchell and Cheryl C. Mitchell, Thomson Reuters authors and attorney partners at Mitchell Law Office in Spokane, WA

The Professional Development (PD) Group of Thomson Reuters continues to prepare new resource materials related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As implementation of the ACA continues to reshape the health care system, legal practices need innovative approaches to addressing client concerns.

In response, three new strategies have been developed—and are now available. These strategies can help attorneys more quickly locate background resource materials when they are needed; better understand how ACA program changes are actually likely to work out, by looking beyond official program projections; and more easily prepare ACA explanations for clients.

Materials in all of these areas are now available in two recent books described on the ACA Resource Page set up by the PD Group, and on the supporting ACA blog set up by the authors.

The first area of emphasis involves the pre-processing and interpretation of statutes, regulations, and policies. In many cases, it is not an effective use of time, or feasible, for attorneys to sort through the extensive ACA-related materials in detail. What is needed are shortcuts to finding the topics of specific interest, with detailed follow-up possible when and where needed.

Methods have been developed for such shortcuts. ACA materials have been pre-sorted to identify the most important features. Broad overviews have been combined with enough detail to provide attorneys with a working knowledge of the ACA without bogging down in less-needed details.

As a second area of emphasis, attorneys need to be able to estimate the likely impact of the ACA on practice areas and client interests. In many cases, actual program activities will vary significantly from idealized or intended outcomes. What is needed are ways to look beyond the “official” predictions to estimate what is actually likely to happen. Better guidance may then be provided to clients.

In response to this need, consideration has been given to how organizations in the health care system typically react to new program efforts. Such reactions can change how implementation proceeds and redefine the likely legal issues to be encountered by attorneys. Procedures have been developed for realistic consideration of the legal implications of such reactions.

Finally, as a third area, improved methods are needed to present information to existing and potential clients. Draft materials that may be customized for each client are a helpful resource.

Draft materials have been prepared and may be revised to fit the specific circumstances of clients.

The Professional Development Group is continuing to prepare resources that attorneys may apply when encountering various aspects of the ACA.

All of these issues—and others—affect how the health law is proceeding and how attorney practices are being affected. For additional resources on the Affordable Care Act and to order publications, visit the ACA resource page at legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com.

Ferd H. Mitchell and his wife, Cheryl, are attorney partners at Mitchell Law Office in Spokane, WA. They are active in elder law and health law practice areas. They have been working together on programs and activities on behalf of the elderly and in health care for over 25 years. During their studies, they have visited and evaluated the health care systems of Japan and several countries in Europe to learn how the needs of the elderly are assessed and met in other countries, and they have been better able to understand the U.S. health care system and related care issues from these visits.