Financial picture for physician practices a bit brighter

The financial picture appears to be a bit rosier for primary care physicians (PCPs), according to a new survey by Medical Economics.

More doctors report that their practice finances had improved compared to the year prior, the 87th annual Medical Economics physician survey found.

Of the 2,065 physicians who responded to the survey for 2014, 22 percent said the financial state of their practice was better than it was a year ago; that's compared to only 15 percent who said in 2013 they saw growth in finances over the year before.

However, 46 percent said their financial state was about the same and 30 percent said it was worse than a year ago. Responses to the previous year's survey had those numbers at 45 percent and 39 percent, respectively. 

But the Medical Economics report says there is reason for optimism because the financial situation is not worse for many practices. The report findings indicate that primary care practices are adapting to and benefiting from new payment models. Indeed, a recent survey of 500 PCPs found that 55 percent now participate in some form of an alternative payment model.

Nitin Damle, M.D., a senior partner at South County Internal Medicine in Wakefield, Rhode Island, told the publication that his practice has brought in more money based on its participation in the Primary Care Demonstration Project--an initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services--and from being a patient-centered medical home.

Along with participating in alternative payment models, Kevin de Regnier, a family practitioner in Des Moines, Iowa, has added two new services, allergy testing and desensitization therapy, that have brought in extra cash to his practice.

"I think most family docs will tell you that the services we provide are undervalued by the healthcare system,"  de Regnier told the publication. "You can either complain about it or you can do something about it. We decided to add some services, and it's done well for us."

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