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Fiscal Uncertainty Still Top Concern

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Fiscal uncertainty is on the minds medical practice professionals who have to deal with rapid changes to the health care profession.

Fiscal uncertainty is on the minds medical practice professionals who have to deal with rapid changes to the health care profession. In addition to money issues, practices are dealing with legislative pressures, according to a survey.

The Medical Group Management Association and the American College of Medical Practice Executives surveyed their members to find the top five challenges to running a group practice right now. And Medicare reimbursement rates continue to be a top worry despite a proposed bill to do away with the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula.

1. Managing finances with the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates

2. Preparing for reimbursement models that place a greater share of financial risk on the practice

3. Preparing for the transition to ICD-10 diagnosis coding

4. Dealing with rising operating costs

5. 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," Susan Turney, MD, MS, FACP, FACMPE, president and CEO of MGMA-ACMPE, said in a statement. "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."

Physician ownership meant a lot to the different challenges respondents listed. For instance, physician-owned groups didn’t find preparing for the ICD-10 diagnosis codes as challenging as hospital-owned or integrated delivery system (IDS).

For physician-owned medical groups, one big challenge was merging with another practice or being acquired by another. However, that wasn’t the case for hospital-owned practices or IDS-owned ones.

"The health care environment is increasingly complex to navigate," Turney said. "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."

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