Healthcare Business News

Facing Medicare pay cut, many doc groups ready to curtail service: survey

By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: October 22, 2012 - 4:45 pm ET

Almost half (45%) of physician group practices responding to an MGMA-ACMPE survey said they would cut back on appointments for new Medicare patients if Congress does not act to avert a steep Medicare physician pay cut.

Meanwhile, 76% of those surveyed said they would reduce staff salaries and/or benefits, and 60% reported they have delayed buying new equipment or facilities in the past decade as lawmakers made short-term fixes to Medicare's sustainable growth-rate formula. Absent congressional action, physicians who participate in the Medicare program will face a 27% reduction in reimbursement come February.

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“Our research shows that physician practices are willing to engage in new Medicare payment and delivery models that reward high-quality, cost-effective patient care outside of fee-for-service,” Dr. Susan Turney, president and CEO of MGMA-ACMPE, which represents medical group practices, said in a news release accompanying the survey results. “Now Congress must do its part, repeal the SGR, and provide stability in Medicare payments so physicians can explore and test new patient-centered approaches.”

The survey received responses from more than 1,000 group practices where more than 26,000 physicians practice. Of those who responded, 18% said they were currently participating in a new Medicare payment delivery model or demonstration, such as the Medicare Shared Savings-ACO program, the Pioneer ACO model or bundled payments. Those not participating in a new model cited lack of stability in current Medicare payments as the reason.

MGMA-ACMPE combines the Medical Group Management Association and the American College of Medical Practice Executives, which sets standards for MGMA. The Englewood, Colo.-based organization—which represents 22,500 members who lead about 13,200 organizations—is hosting its annual meeting in San Antonio through Oct. 24.

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