Blog | Wednesday, June 27, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Medicare cuts cause most unease among medical practices

Potential Medicare cuts are the top challenge to running a practice, according to a survey.

According to 1,252 respondents to MGMA-ACMPE's "Medical Practice Today: What members have to say" research, the top five challenges of running a group practice are:
--managing finances with the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates,
--preparing for reimbursement models that place a greater share of financial risk on the practice,
--preparing for the transition to ICD-10 diagnosis coding,
--dealing with rising operating costs, and
--participating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' EHR meaningful use incentive program.

"The threat of a significant cut in Medicare reimbursement continues to plague physician practices and severely hinders their ability to properly plan and assess their financial situations," said Susan Turney, MD, MS, FACP, president and CEO of MGMA-ACMPE, in a press release. "The increased regulatory burden brought on by unfunded federal mandates only exacerbates this uncertainly caused by the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate physician payment formula."

Medical practice professionals in hospital- or IDS-owned medical groups found preparing for the ICD-10 diagnosis codes more challenging than those in physician-owned groups. Managing finances, implementing and/or optimizing a patient-centered medical home (PCMH), and dealing with the commercial-payer physician credentialing process were also cited as a greater challenge for hospital-owned groups.

"The healthcare environment is increasingly complex to navigate," Dr. Turney added. "It's more important than ever for professional practice administrators, especially those who are board certified in medical practice management, to assist their practices in adapting to the arduous processes and regulations that govern our industry."

The survey invited members by e-mail to participate in a web-based questionnaire about 54 issues, using a five-point scale for each one.