Live From MGMA: Surviving and Thriving

Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media, October 21, 2008

These are tough times for medical groups, and the MGMA annual conference in San Diego kicked off with an acknowledgment of that harsh reality.

"People are postponing care. Many practices are already reporting that patient volume is down. Rising unemployment means more people without health insurance. Tightening credit requirements mean that practices are postponing capital investments, including such urgent needs as e-prescribing and electronic records," William Jessee, MD, CEO of MGMA said during his opening session remarks.

But as we reported in this month's magazine cover story, although the model may be changing, success is still possible for right-minded medical groups.

In fact, Jessee held up the October issue of HealthLeaders magazine during his open remarks as evidence that medical groups can still thrive. "I noticed that the October issue of HealthLeaders has a cover story on 'surviving and thriving in difficult times.' That story features MGMA data on highly profitable medical groups, and a number of examples of groups that we've identified as better performers. So despite the economic hard times, doing well by doing good is still possible," he said.

The breakout sessions here are all about figuring out the specifics of how to do that. There is a lot of focus on leadership and financial management—two areas that take on added importance in the current environment.

Elyas Bakhtiari is a managing editor with HealthLeaders Media. He can be reached at

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