research released by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) highlights the magnitude of the uncertainly faced by physician practices coping with a decade of temporary, last-minute congressional reprieves from Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) payment cuts, as well as the latest threatened 29.5 percent cut scheduled for Jan. 1.
In its latest research, MGMA reports that while 95 percent of physician practices polled said they currently participate in Medicare, only 16 percent indicated they will maintain current levels of access for new Medicare patients if the proposed 2012 cut occurs. Fifty-one percent indicated that they will reduce available appointments for new Medicare patients, and 33 percent expressed uncertainty about how the cuts could impact the patients they serve.
MGMA’s research also details actions that practices have already taken due to the uncertainty created by multiple years of short term congressional fixes. Sixty five percent of respondents said the uncertainty caused by the annual threat of Medicare payment cuts has already caused them to delay purchases of new clinical equipment and/or facilities, and 52 percent reported that they have had to reduce charity care.
MGMA conducted the research from mid-September through mid-October. The Association received responses from more than 2,176 practices in which more than 93,000 physicians practice.