In town for the AUA, a urologist's version of the Oscars.
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I am in Chicago for the annual meeting of the American Urological Association. I arrived on Thursday so I could attend the practice managers meeting Friday and Saturday. Here are some things I learned, business-wise:
- Urologists are public enemy number one and targeted for cuts on all-ends.
- e-prescribe will be mandatory by 2011, after which practices that do not e-prescribe will lose 1 to 2% of Medicare reimbursements.
- PQRI requires participating doctors from any specialty to enter data on 80% of appropriate cases or forfeit all bonuses.
- e-prescribing needs to only be done on 20 or 25% of cases to meet criteria.
- MGMA data suggest that higher operating expenses translate into more profit for doctors, so long as the expenses are in ancillary services, health information technology, and staff.
- Medicare Advantage Plans are run by commercial payers arrangement costs the taxpayer an extra 13%, on average, over straight Medicare.
- Medicare Advantage Plans are not required to follow Medicare's rules and are not under state jurisdiction.
- The speaker recommended that urology practices avoid the Medicare Advantage plans.
- A physician's most valuae resource is his time.
- For efficiency's sake, doctors need to delegate everything that can be to employees or non-physician providers.
- The speaker, a professional consultant, stated that practices should answer phones at times that patients are likely to call, ie during lunch, before work, after work, etc.
- Practices need to understand performance metrics and adjust accordingly.