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Current conditions not so rosy for small-practice physicians

According to a recent survey of small to mid-size medical practices, 41 percent of private practices are doing worse than last year, and the costs of running a medical practice and insurance reimbursement issues continue to be major sources of concern for most physicians.

SURVEY

PUBLICATIONS

RAC evaluation response “Responding to a RAC Evaluation” and its accompanying CD-ROM (published by AHIMA Press, 2010) provide guidance for health information management (HIM) professionals on how to prepare for and ensure compliance with the recovery audit contractor (RAC) program. While medical record audits have existed in the past to identify improper payments and prevent fraudulent claims, the RAC program’s scope and volume of medical record requests is much greater now. This package can help organizations understand the RAC audit process and establish policies and procedures to manage incoming requests, as well as denials and the appeal process. Order from www.ahimastore.org.

EVENTS March The 2011 State of the Small Practice survey conducted by

Practice Fusion, a Web-based electronic health record (EHR) company, aims to highlight the challenges faced by private practices nationwide in an environment of economic downturn, healthcare reform and technology mandates. Responses to 10 questions were collected from a national sample of 100 physi- cians. The majority of respondents were primary care providers in practices with fewer than six physicians. Key fi ndings include:

• 41 percent of doctors report that their practice is doing worse this year compared to last year, while 26 percent report doing better and 31 percent report no change.

• 59 percent report that new technology has made things easier for their medical practice.

Doctors were also asked to report their practice’s top negative pressures and positive trends in a series of open-ended questions.

• Issues relating to practice administration (31 percent), insurance and reimbursement (26 percent) and diffi cult patients (11 percent) are the top negative pressures on the practices.

• Positive trends are led by advancements in medicine (22 percent), patient quality (19 percent) and improvement in the healthcare workforce (15 percent).

Eighty percent of U.S. physicians practice in groups of nine or less, according to the AMA. Learn more about this survey at www.practicefusion.com.

www.healthmgttech.com

The AIIM International Conference & Expo @ info360, March 21-24, 2011, Washington, D.C., is an annual event for the business-content and information-management industry, encompassing the technologies and strategies used to capture, manage, share and store documents and digital content. www.aiimexpo.com

The American College for Healthcare Executive

(ACHE) 2011 Congress on Healthcare Leadership, March 21-24, Chicago, draws more than 4,000 top healthcare leaders from around the world to attend more than 140 seminars, general sessions and other events. Topics covered include quality and patient safety, innovative technologies, physician alignment, fi nancial strategies and patient access. www.ache.org

April

8th annual World Healthcare Congress (WHCC), April 4-6, 2011, Washington, D.C., is World Congress’ flagship event that gathers more than 1,800 healthcare, government and corporate leaders to formulate solutions to the challenges of healthcare cost, quality and delivery. www.worldcongress.com

HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY March 2011 7

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