MGMA: Payment Uncertainty Dampens Physician Spending

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , October 24, 2012

But that's only part of the story, physician, hospital, and insurance leaders said at the three-day MGMA-ACMPE conference, which opened Sunday and ends Wednesday.

There are not only payment uncertainties, but also complicated questions as more physicians find hospital employment, and scurry to innovate their practices to stay in business, or rush to unload their practices, or try to get on with their lives. In the backdrop is peaking uncertainty over the presidential election.

"Everybody is clearly in massive flux," Turney says. "No matter what happens with the elections, we know the care model is going to change. We don't know what it's going to look like." One thing she's certain of: Care will be more "consumer-directed."

Sharing the stage Tuesday, Michael Funk, director of National Network Operations for Humana, Inc., based in Louisville, KY, reiterated what many in healthcare are observing across the country: "We have doctors buying doctors' practices, hospitals buying practices, health plans buying practices. There's a tremendous amount of chaos going on."

One of the major causes of chaos has been the SGR problem. During the conference, MGMA–ACMPE released a  study  that shows how physicians have been impacted by the uncertainty over SGR. Not only are physicians making changes to their individual practices, but they also are contemplating becoming involved in new Medicare payment and care delivery models outside of the fee-for-service model.

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