To survive and thrive in today’s healthcare environment, medical group practice professionals must anticipate and respond to change, according to Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) members, who identified the following top concerns in an annual survey:
- Preparing for the transition to ICD-10
- Dealing with rising operating costs
- Preparing for reimbursement models that place a greater share of financial risk on the practice
- Collecting patient due balances (self-pay, high-deductible and health savings accounts)
“Tenacity in the Face of Adversity: Recognizing the Problems Ahead and Identifying Workable Solutions,” a feature story in the January/February 2015 issue of MGMA Connection, highlighted these challenges from MGMA’s annual member questionnaire “Medical Practice Today: What Members Have to Say” while also featuring strategies for a successful year.
One key to success in an increasingly difficult environment is to approach business differently, which includes investigating new opportunities to engage patients, using data differently and encouraging physicians to use technology and better document their clinical encounters. This concept will be explored during the MGMA 2015 Business of Care Delivery® Conference in Austin, Texas, March 29-31, when speakers will talk about how the industry’s increasing demands will require a multifaceted, team-based initiative that entails ongoing training, collaboration and user-friendly technology that capitalizes on the unique talents of different providers.
The ability to embrace change and use benchmarking tools effectively will become more and more valuable in determining what works and identifying opportunities for improvement. Healthcare information technology systems that are ready to support and comply with the following four initiatives will be a crucial asset:
- ICD-10: Technology updates, training and testing must be accomplished by Oct. 1, 2015. Read more.
- Meaningful use: This year, eligible professionals (EPs) who didn’t meet meaningful use (MU) requirements in 2013 (and didn’t qualify for hardship exceptions) will be subject to a Medicare payment adjustment of 1 percent. Penalties will continue increasing in 2016 and beyond. This year, many EPs who received MU payments will be required to move to the much more challenging Stage 2 requirements. Read more.
- Privacy: The omnibus privacy regulations released in January 2013 unveiled many new provisions such as the notification requirements on a provider that experiences a loss of data, constituting a privacy breach. Omnibus also granted additional rights to patients, which practices must be prepared to accommodate. Read more.
- Practice management system accreditation: The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission and the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange are developing an accreditation program for practice management system (PMS) software. Expected to go live this year, the program will test PMS software for a range of capabilities, such as conducting electronic transactions, scheduling, incorporating ICD-10 codes and meeting a minimum level of data security.
While there are many challenges for practice management success in 2015, practice managers who are open to change and realize how technology can help busy teams forge new terrain can meet their goals and be poised for success.