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Medicare reimbursement cuts biggest worry for practice managers

Article

Medical practice administrators were asked recently to name the professional challenges keeping them awake nights. Find out if your concerns are the same.

The uncertainty created by possible steep cuts in Medicare reimbursements is the greatest challenge to running a practice today, according to a recent survey.

The Medical Group Management Association–American College of Medical Practice Executives (MGMA–ACPME) asked its members to identify their biggest current professional challenges. The top 10 responses:

  • preparing for reimbursement models that place a greater share of financial risk on the practice;

  • dealing with rising operating costs;

  • participating in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ electronic health records meaningful use program;

  • understanding the total cost of an episode of care from a payer’s perspective;

  • collecting from patients whose care is covered by self-pay, high-deductible health plans and/or health savings accounts;

  • maintaining physician compensation levels;

  • managing finances; and

  • recruiting doctors.

 

“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,” says Susan Turney, MD, MS, FACP, FACMPE, president and chief executive officer of MGMA-ACMPE. “The increased regulatory burden brought on by unfunded federal mandates only exacerbates this uncertainly caused by the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate [SGR] physician payment formula.”

As a result of the SGR formula, Medicare reimbursements to physicians were scheduled to be cut by 27.4% this past January, but Congress voted to delay the cuts until January. Congress could decide to reduce the level of cuts or postpone them again before then.

MGMA-ACMPE conducted a Web-based survey among its members, of whom 1,200 participated. Members were asked to rate 54 issues and identify which challenges were most applicable to their practice and intense to their daily work.

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