ACO Concerns Top Challenges for Medical Practice Managers

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , July 1, 2011

8.      Recruiting physicians

9.      Negotiating contracts with payers

10. Maintaining physician compensation levels

Several of the challenges at the top of the list this year reflect efforts to implement healthcare reform. Preparing for new reimbursement models grabbed the top spot in the very first year that it appeared in the survey. Implementing an ACO and modifying physician compensation formulas to account for quality measures weren’t mentioned before this year’s survey. 

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Liz Johnson, spokesperson for MGMA, explained that the leading challenges reflect the “top-of- mind thinking” by the practice managers. She noted that HIPAA is still a challenge but “it’s not something they think about every day.”

The survey found that the top challenge could differ depending on the practice specialty:

  • Cardiology practices ranked managing finances with the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates at their biggest challenge.
  • Family practices and multispecialty with primary and specialty care practices placed preparing for reimbursement models that place a greater share of financial risk on the practice at the top of their challenge list.
  • Orthopedic surgery practices named implementing and/or optimizing an ACO as their number one challenge.
  • OB/GYN practices tapped modifying the physician compensation formula to more heavily emphasize quality measures as their top challenge.

The web-based survey was conducted in January and attracted 1,190 responses.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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