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Finances, ICD-10 Transition Cited as Greatest Challenge for Practitioners

June 26, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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A survey from the Englewood, Colo.-based Medical Group Management Association and its American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE), found that medical practice professionals say managing finances with the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates is their greatest challenge. The survey, “Medical Practice Today: What members have to say,” looked at the biggest daily professional challenges and their struggles cited by medical practice professionals in a medical group setting.

Along with managing finances with the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates, medical practice professionals said preparing for reimbursement models that place a greater share of financial risk on the practice and preparing for the transition to ICD-10 diagnosis coding were other upcoming challenges. Also cited were the challenges with 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,” Susan Turney, M.D., resident 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.”

Meanwhile, the challenges for physician-owned medical groups and groups owned by hospitals or integrated delivery systems (IDSs) were slightly different. Merging with another practice posed a bigger challenge for respondents in physician-owned groups than it did for those in hospital-owned or IDS-owned practices. Being acquired by another practice was another challenge for physician-owned medical groups.

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.  




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