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MGMA: Payment Uncertainty Dampens Physician Spending

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, October 24, 2012

Physicians are fundamentally uncertain what to do next because of congressional inaction on the SGR, according to Turney. And because of this doubt, 60% of physicians have delayed the purchase of new clinical equipment or facilities; another 45% have reduced charity care, and 38% have reduced clinical staff, says Anders Gilberg, MGMA, senior VP for Government Affairs.

Physicians have made some "tough decisions' due to payment uncertainty, he adds.

As physicians look ahead, they are certainly willing to embrace new payment models or demonstrations, says Turney. The survey of 1,000 doctors shows that 18% of respondents indicated that they are currently participating in any of the Medicare new payment models and or demonstrations.

The 82% of physician practices not participating in a new model said they would be more likely to participate if they had five years of Medicare payment stability. To succeed, physicians need "stability through the transition" and "simple and relevant opportunities to participate and innovate," Gilberg told a group of journalists.

"Because the Medicare reimbursement cuts have been averted so many times in the past, practices aren't worried," Gilberg said. "It's not like the cuts will actually happen, right?"

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