The nation's multispecialty medical groups continued to struggle in 2002, absorbing operating costs that were nearly 2% above total medical revenue, according to a new report by the Englewood, Colo.-based Medical Group Management Association.
An annual survey released today shows that the cost of doing business for all multispecialty groups increased by about 7.5% last year, outstripping gains of about 5.7% in total revenue, the MGMA said. The report, released during the MGMA's five-day annual conference in Philadelphia, underscores growing concerns about the fiscal stability of many medical groups that have been hard-hit by increases in malpractice premiums as well as other economic hurdles, officials warned.
"If costs continue to rise, especially for medical liability premiums, and revenues remain flat, our nation's already struggling medical groups will not be able to endure," said William Jessee, president and CEO of the MGMA, whose 19,000 members manage about 11,000 doctors' organizations. "This should be a strong wake-up call to legislators and policymakers that medical groups cannot survive unless current reimbursement mechanisms and liability reform issues are addressed."
Also, the MGMA named Bergitta Smith, director of medical affairs at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as board chairwoman for 2003-2004. She succeeds Larrie Dawkins, director of compliance at Wake Forest University Physicians, Winston-Salem, N.C., as the association's top elected officer. -- by Michael Romano