July 10, 2013

Docs Say Finances Present Toughest Challenges

Docs Say Finances Present Toughest Challenges

icians know that there are things that are going to change, sometimes dramatically, in the healthcare reimbursement model going forward. The real question is whether or not physician practices can be positioned to take advantage of opportunities and to minimize disruption, reduction in payment and challenges to profitability. One of the issues that we hear regularly from our physician clients and physician groups is understanding the unknown. With so many changes coming at the medical community at one time it is extremely important to be able to do financial modeling and understand what changes in methods of practice and reimbursement will create for the future. This article highlights some of the thoughts that we’ve been working on with our clients.

Physician executives say that dealing with rising operating costs and preparing for new payment models that put more financial risk on their practice are the top challenges they face in running a group practice, according to the latest MGMA-ACMPE survey.

While physicians handle difficult medical problems as part of their everyday practices, group practices find that managing finances is their toughest daily challenge, including the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates and the difficulty in collecting from patients who are self-pay, high-deductible or use health savings accounts. Physicians reported that “collaborating with payers to implement new payment models” was more intense and applicable by respondents than in 2012.

Research conducted by the group in October 2012 indicated that 82 percent of responding physician practices were willing to explore new Medicare payment models, but the instability caused by constant threats of reimbursement cuts under Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment formula has gotten in the way of their participation.

Respondents reported that putting in place a new electronic health record (EHR) was less challenging this year, but “optimizing an existing EHR system” was cited as more difficult.

Source: Physician News Briefs

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