Year-long uncer­tainty over doc-pay fix

Modern Healthcare - - SPECIAL REPORT -

Un­like in 2010, physi­cians aren’t fac­ing the con­stant threat of hav­ing their Medi­care pay­ments be­ing dras­ti­cally slashed—but that threat never re­ally goes away. Physi­cians go deep into De­cem­ber with the cloud of a 27.4% Medi­care pay­ment cut sched­uled for Jan­uary hang­ing over their heads. Uncer­tainty over the sus­tain­able growth-rate for­mula adds to un­cer­tain­ties be­ing cre­ated by le­gal chal­lenges to the Af­ford­able Care Act. This clouded fu­ture causes many doc­tors to seek refuge in larger prac­tices or to find se­cu­rity by sell­ing their prac­tices to lo­cal hos­pi­tal sys­tems.

Uncer­tainty and mys­tery still sur­round what­ever in­ten­tions Wal-mart Stores has for en­ter­ing the pri­mary-care arena. The re­tail gi­ant, which op­er­ates around 140 in-store clin­ics in some 28 states, cir­cu­lates a re­quest for pro­pos­als to cre­ate “a national, in­te­grated, low-cost pri­mary-care health­care plat­form.” When pressed for more de­tails, the com­pany re­leases a short state­ment say­ing it re­ally wasn’t go­ing to do that and that the “state­ment of in­tent is over­writ­ten and in­cor­rect.”

Other high­lights:

The Med­i­cal Group Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion gains a new leader, with Dr. Su­san Tur­ney re­plac­ing Dr. Wil­liam Jessee, who had served for 12 years as pres­i­dent and CEO.

There is also a lead­er­ship change at the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, which re­mains the na­tion’s largest physi­cian or­ga­ni­za­tion de­spite a 5.3% mem­ber­ship drop to 216,000 in De­cem­ber 2010 from 228,000 in De­cem­ber 2009. Dr. Michael Maves had led the or­ga­ni­za­tion since 2001, but he didn’t seek to re­new his con­tract, which ex­pired June 30. The new ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and CEO is former Univer­sity of Chicago Med­i­cal Cen­ter CEO Dr. James Madara.

New re­stric­tions are placed on med­i­cal res­i­dent work hours.

The AMA ob­jects to the name of the new Doc­tor of Nurs­ing Prac­tice ad­vanced-de­gree pro­gram be­ing of­fered at some schools in the Cal­i­for­nia State Univer­sity sys­tem.

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