|Faltering Economy Challenging Medical Practice Operations
For the second year in a row rising costs, shrinking
revenues, physician compensation and selecting and implementing new
electronic health records are problems facing medical practice
The professionals aired their gripes to the Medical
Group Management Association (MGMA) in the 2009 "Medical Practice
Today: What Members Have to Say."
"Medical practice managers have one of the most
difficult jobs in healthcare," said. Dr. William F. Jessee, MGMA
president and CEO.
Earlier in the year, MGMA invited its members via e-mail
to participate in a Web-based questionnaire about their practices and
the career challenges they face today. MGMA’s e-mail survey drew
2,077 replies, a response rate of 13.4 percent.
This year, respondents raised the same three concerns as
last year – financial squeeze, physician compensation concerns
and selecting and implementing a new electronic health records –
but added some new ones.
The fourth major concern this year was collecting from
self-pay patients and those with high-deductible health plans and
health savings accounts. In 2008 the fourth-ranked challenge was
recruiting physicians, which ranked sixth this year.
Easily one third of the respondents stated they are
experiencing the effects of the current recession on their practices,
- Postponing capital expenditures
- Decreasing revenues
- A rise in uninsured patients
- Implementing a staff hiring freeze
- Cutting operating budgets
"At their core, medical practices are small- to
medium-sized businesses, and the recession has affected them in many of
the same ways as other businesses," Jessee said. "On the positive side
nearly 82 percent of respondents said there was a zero probability that
their group would file for bankruptcy protection. Nearly 80 percent
said there was a zero probability their practice would close because of
the poor economy."
Address: Medical Group Management Association 104 Inverness Terrace East, Englewood, CO 80112-5306; (303) 799-1111, www.mgma.com.