Last month, the Medical Group Management Association, now known as the MGMA-ACMPE, released the results of a questionnaire that ranked members' most-pressing practice management challenges. In this edition of "Practice Makes Perfect," we'll tackle No. 1 on that list: Managing finances with the uncertainty of Medicare reimbursement rates.
Here we go again. The annual threat of a major reduction in physician payment rates looms heavily today and will be followed with the subsequent flurry of recommendations on how to increase revenue and/or decrease expenses to survive. It's no wonder that MGMA-ACMPE members struggle most with this issue in their professional lives. It's complex, and there is no pat answer, but here are a couple of suggestions for surviving this potential economic tsunami.
Look again at your standard ideas for increasing revenue. Maybe something that would not have worked a few years ago in your practice may be worth considering today. For example, expanding your scope of physician services, remaining open for additional hours, adding new ancillary services or employing nonphysician providers are potential opportunities for additional revenue. There appears to be an increase in payer emphasis on "value," which might be a great opportunity for increasing payments under various incentive plans. Don't be shy. Approach your payers and ask what "value" plans they have or help them develop one.