Medical practices get the squeeze in '08

If you're a physician-businessperson, it's looking like 2008 is going to be a particularly tricky year to navigate. Not only will physicians face a 10.1 percent Medicare cut, Medicare may also cut reimbursements for ASCs, and state regulators (notably in New Jersey) are questioning ASCs' basis for operating. Even worse, new federal rules that could ban more-profitable physician-owned hospitals loom on the horizon, possibly taking away a financial offset to otherwise crushing financial pressures.

On the expense side, physicians may soon need to use e-prescribing technology if they want to meet all 119 criteria for CMS's Physician Quality Reporting Initiative. Combine that with strong pressure to use electronic medical records, and ongoing pressure to cut in scarce physicians for adequate salaries, and we're talking about some serious investment here.

Perhaps the only clear bright spot for physician business owners, is that medical malpractice costs have fallen for some specialties, including orthopedics, OB/GYN, cardiology, internal medicine and general surgery practices, according to the Medical Group Management Association.

To find out more about these trends:
- read this Modern Physician piece (reg. req.)