For the sixth year, the Medical Group Management Association gave members the opportunity to sound off about the toughest challenges they're currently facing in running their practices. According to this year's "Medical Practice Today: What members have to say" report, groups are struggling most with financial-management issues, supporting other research citing practices' money woes.
Overall, the top five difficulties reported by the 1,067 MGMA members surveyed include the following:
1. Dealing with rising operating costs.
2. Preparing for reimbursement models that place a greater share of financial risk on the practice.
3. Managing finances with the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates.
4. Collecting from self-pay, high-deductible and/or health savings account patients.
5. Understanding the total cost of an episode of care.
"[Physician practices] are working diligently to manage rising operating costs and prepare for potential cuts to reimbursement rates, and are also navigating a number of other transformative federal policies that will soon go into effect, such as health insurance exchanges," said Susan L. Turney, M.D., MGMA-ACMPE president and CEO, in an announcement. "It's understandable that financial management issues rank among the most pressing concerns for our members."
In an effort to increase their business acumen during this time of rapid change in healthcare, growing numbers of physicians are pursuing physician-specific business degrees, FiercePracticeManagement reported previously. Some emerging programs, such as the medical MBA offered by Kelley School of Business in Indianapolis, cover timely topics such as implementing the Affordable Care Act, reducing costs while improving patient outcomes, enabling innovation under cost pressures and managing the migration of private practices into larger medical networks.