Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ACO's: Accountable Care Organizations and Keeping Your Doc

Once again, we're delighted to present our favorite Medical Office Manager Kelley Beloff. Regular readers know that she brings to the table a unique perspective, and is willing to share with us some of the "backroom dealings" of health care. This time out, she reports on the devastation that looms ahead due to ObamaCare©'s new rules on Accountable Care Organizations:

Several months ago, Hank and I had a discussion about Accountable Care Organizations. What is this concept in Obamacare? As a medical practice manager, I actively read all aspects of Obamacare and how it would affect my profession. In April I attended a Medical Management Seminar, where this policy was discussed. I asked the lawyer leading the discussion what this guideline meant for privately owned businesses. He stated that no one knew what would happen.

Now we know:

"In 2005, more than two-thirds of medical practices were doctor-owned, a share that was largely constant for many years. By next year, the share of practices owned by physicians will probably drop below 40 percent, according to data from the Medical Group Management Association. Hospitals or health plans will own the balance of doctor practices."

I work for one of those doctor-owned medical practices, and Medicare Patients currently account for approximately 20% of the practice. If our practice is not purchased by a hospital before Jan. 2012, my physicians can no longer get paid by Medicare for treating Medicare patients. As with most micro and small businesses, we operate on a tight profit margin. A loss of 20% of our revenue is enough to cause our business to fold. So we have two options: go out of business in Dec. 2011 or negotiate with a hospital to purchase our business. This creates a buyers market, so hospitals can name the price and the physician has to accept or go out of business. Physicians will be forced to accept the pay from a Hospital, or go out of business.

The government, through legislation, will cause the demise of privately owned physician practices.

Physicians are already opting out of Medicare. Opting out of being in network with Medicare. Opting out of treating Medicare patients.

Currently "Medicine" is the only business where revenue is regulated by the Federal Government. In 2012, your medical care will be regulated by the Federal Government through Hospitals.

This is short post because the article says it all.

Thanks, Kelley!
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