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New payment systems and EHRs top list of practice manager worries

Image used with permissionYour peers feel most challenged by new, upcoming physician payment models that put more financial risk on practices and by earning Medicare's electronic health record (EHR) incentive bonus, according to the latest research from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

The organization's fourth annual "Medical Practice Today: What Members Have to Say" report, based on email responses from 1,190 MGMA members, found the following five issues to be the top challenges of running a practice: 

  1. Preparing for reimbursement models that place a greater share of financial risk on the practice
  2. Participating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' EHR Meaningful Use incentive program
  3. Dealing with rising operating costs
  4. Selecting and implementing a new EHR system
  5. Implementing and/or optimizing an accountable care organization

The bottom line: Two of the five involve EHRs and another two address the issues that are involved with Medicare's push for accountable care organizations (ACOs). The standalone item -- "dealing with rising operating costs" is ranked in third place. It's also a staple issue for practices that's rather generic and driven by a multitude of factors, such as the continuing downward spiral in physician reimbursement under the sustainable growth rate (SGR).

“Operational and financial challenges – and the uncertainty associated with those issues so fundamental to the financial health and viability of a practice – continue to be difficult territory for those who lead medical practices,” said William F. Jessee, MD, president and CEO of MGMA, in a prepared statement. “Also, the pressure to adopt technology and the morass our members face in determining the best systems for their practices, and then complying with the various government programs to receive incentives and avoid penalties, are proving to be of particular concern.”


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