Top 5 Holiday Gifts for Physicians

Cora Nucci, December 1, 2010

As the clock runs down on 2010 and thoughts turn to year-end gifts, let us consider some of the  most sought-after goodies for physicians and healthcare executives.

Some rural hospitals and community health centers got early gifts this year.  In October the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would make available up to $335 million in Expanded Services grants for community health centers to boost access to preventive and primary healthcare.   That's a big bowl of cash for financially strapped providers who work with some of the nation's most vulnerable patients.

Here are a few more choice items any doctor would be delighted to receive:

1. A Doc Fix That Sticks

Finances are never far from a physician leader's mind. This year is no exception. In the latest installment of the ongoing game of chicken between federal lawmakers and the nation's physicians, Congress on Monday approved a one-month delay in its scheduled 23% cut to Medicare reimbursements as defined by the sustainable growth rate formula. The Senate took similar action earlier this month.

With primary care docs threatening to drop Medicare patients and lawmakers withholding relief until the last moment, there's more manufactured drama here than on a season's worth of The Jersey Shore. Let's get this fixed.

2. A Strategy For Dealing With Bad Debt

Hospitals large and small, urban and rural feel the burden of bad debt.  It's a plague on hospital balance sheets, but there are measures that can be taken to lessen the amount of red ink on the books.  Here are six expert tips—from collecting a portion of patient balances at the point of service to instituting discounts for self-pay patients.

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