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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: January 19, 2010
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 professionals.

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, including:

  • 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.


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