As doctors, we hear it all around us. The cost of medical care is going up and we, as a country, need to find a way to control costs. The easies target is then to lower reimbursement to doctors. As a result we doctors work longer and longer hours, seeing more and more patients, all the while, many doctors are taking home less pay. So where can you turn to learn how to combat this trend?
Insurance companies? As much as insurance companies try to paint themselves as “partners in healthcare,” their three favorite weapons against rising healthcare costs are:
1. Lowering reimbursement for any given procedure code.
2. Bundling procedure codes in order to pay less.
3. Denying claims altogether.
Certainly we cannot expect them to help us make more.
The government? While there are government programs designed to help physicians (including the incentives for EMR), the government is not the answer to our problems. Anytime the government gets involved, things become more complex and often more costly. We will discuss ways to help navigate these new regulations and make money no matter what the latest changes are (some great suggestions are covered in our e-book). However, I think it is counterproductive to make hoping for governement assistance our main focus.
So what does that leave us? Ourselves! We need to, first, believe that it is possible for doctors to make great money no matter what happens in healthcare. Second, we need to focus on what is directly under our control. As a profession this means we need to:
1. Fight the insurance companies for fair reimbursement
2. Organize and lobby Congress to make sure that favorable legislation is passed.
3. Stop accepting government and insurance regulations blindly without fighting against them when indicated.
As much as I believe that it is important for physicians to band together to protect our profession, my primary focus in this blog is on the individual doctor. This is because we have the most direct control over our own livies. As individuals we can control:
1. The number of patients we see.
2. The number and types of services that we offer to those patients.
3. The costs we pay to run our businesses (yes, much of what affects your costs is directly under your control).
4. The payor mix that we accept.
Over the coming months and years we will look at specific ways to improve our financial situation. Look for posts on:
1. Methods to increase you patient population.
2. Ways to improve your patients health while offering them more services.
3. New procedures that will help your patients and your bottom line.
4. Ways of controling costs.
5. How to get a better handle on collections and reimbursement so that you are not at the mercy of the insurance companies.
For now, however, I think it is more important to get your mindset right. We as a profession need to stop thinking and acting like victims of our situation. We need to resolve to take charge of our financial life. So welcome to the new blog and I look forward to everyone’s positive input!