Friday, April 24, 2009

Good morning from Chicago

In town for the AUA, a urologist's version of the Oscars.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

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.