More practices eye informal integration amid struggles

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) identified its members' top practice struggles for the seventh year in a row with its "Medical Practice Today: What Members Have to Say" survey.

This year's 542 respondents ranked their most applicable and intense challenges as the following:

  1. Preparing for the transition to ICD-10

  2. Dealing with rising operating costs

  3. Preparing for reimbursement models that place a greater share of financial risk on the practice

  4. Preparing for value-based payment models

  5. Managing finances with the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates

  6. Understanding payers' criteria of physician performance

  7. Collecting patient-due balances

  8. Participating in Meaningful Use

  9. Negotiating contracts with payers

  10. Understanding the total cost of an episode of care

As in years past, financial-management issues continued to put a strain on practices, although implementing ICD-10 diagnosing coding, with a final deadline still uncertain, surged to the top of the list for the first time.

In addition, more than 40 percent of this year's respondents reported that they have or are planning to informally integrate their practice with other healthcare organizations via means including clinical integration with a hospital or health system, or forming or joining an accountable care organization, physician-hospital organization or independent practice association, according to an announcement.

In contrast, 27 percent of respondents indicated plans to formally integrate by merging with another physician-owned practice or by selling practice ownership to a hospital or health system, MGMA noted.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- access the survey results (membership required)