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MGMA: Payment Uncertainty Dampens Physician Spending

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, October 24, 2012

A time of "massive flux" from payment uncertainty leaves physician practices in a reductionist mode these days, according to Medical Group Management Association - American College of Medical Practice Executives President Susan Turney, MD. She shared her observations with attendees at the MGMA-ACMPE conference in San Antonio, Texas this week.

Doctors are trying to avoid red ink by significantly delaying delivery on new equipment, reducing charity care, and trimming clinical staff, Turney says.




The grumbling about federal regulations and reimbursement cuts reverberated through San Antonio's  Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center as physicians crowded into sessions about how they could "save time, see more patients and improve practice revenue" or get to the bottom line: "How much is my practice worth?"

One of the big concerns is a perennial: the "fiscal instability" created by what MGMA officials call the "decade" of Congressional reprieves from sustainable growth rate formula cuts.

Once again, MGMA-ACMPE officials are calling for the Obama Administration and Congress to repeal the SGR, which would impose a 27% cut in Medicare reimbursements to physicians. These cuts have been postponed repeatedly by Congress, but the funding needed for future payments will only increase dramatically over the years, as far as doctors see it.

 

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