Ruff recently worked with a client in preparing for the changes associated with the PPACA, and also in planning for EMR implementation to attest for meaningful use. The physician practice has a high Medicare patient population, so the owners were concerned that the declining reimbursement from Medicare would impact them significantly, she says. They were already experiencing a decline in revenue and an increase in expenses but didn't know what was causing this or how to fix it.
"We recommend starting with a financial health assessment which includes a review of the accounts receivable metrics, expenses, interviews with key staff members, and observation of workflows," she says. "We then put together recommendations to help improve operations, gain efficiencies in technology, revamp a staffing plan, renegotiate managed care contracts, and then develop a strategic and tactical work plan to drive these improvements."
In this particular case, Ruff and her colleagues assisted the practice with the implementation of the EMR, helped them plan and attest for meaningful use, and implemented operational and financial efficiencies. The changes helped put this client well down the path of preparing and stabilizing its operations to sustain revenue and remain profitable in spite all of the changes associated with the PPACA, she says. (See the story on p. 4 for more on that case study.)
Physician practices of all types are preparing for the current and anticipated changes in healthcare, Ruff says. Some are educated on the changes and have already taken the necessary steps to achieve meaningful use and receive the associated incentive dollars, and they have taken the appropriate measures to optimize cash flow and remain profitable. Others are concerned and trying to understand what specifically they should do to prepare and are thinking through strategies such as acquisition and new technologies to become better prepared, she says.