Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Anne Hacker


National healthcare as executed through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was introduced in 2010, but was discussed for several decades prior to its enactment. Section 5210 of the ACA established funding for a Regular and Ready Reserve Corps (RRRC) to provide support to local healthcare entities with emergency preparedness. It is unknown what impact Section 5210 of the ACA has had on local emergency preparedness, as well as what obstacles are encountered with implementing this piece of legislation at the local level. The purpose of this case study was to understand the obstacles encountered at a local level by healthcare entities by combining rational choice theory and complex adaptive systems through Ostrom's institutional analysis and development theory. Data for this case study were obtained through interviews with 6 hospital emergency coordinators of hospitals in the Tennessee Highland Rim Region. These data were coded and analyzed following Moustakas' modified Van Kaam procedure. Findings from this study concluded that participants perceived that Section 5210 of the ACA did not impact hospital operations at the local level. However, other obstacles including employee turnover, communication, and process standardization and education are perceived to exist in terms of planning and emergency preparedness. The results of this study may impact social change by enhancing state and local policy makers' ability to identify and create a future roadmap for health care policy implementation at local and regional levels.