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    How to survive in independent practice

    Finding strength in numbers and developing business savvy can help physicians retain their autonomy


    Here are some approaches that experts recommend. None can be executed overnight, but it is important to consider the alternative, says Jennifer Searfoss chief executive officer of Searfoss Consulting Group, LLC, in Annapolis, Maryland. “You can’t help people if you can’t keep your doors open,” she says.

    Strengthen your negotiating power

    Many consultants and doctors say there is no substitute for aligning yourself with other physicians to hammer out reimbursement schedules with insurance companies, as well as service providers.

    “You get leverage,” says Austin Kirkland, principal and founder of Outperform, LLC, a consultancy in Falls Church, Virginia.

    At the Medical Group of Ohio, an IPA founded in 1995 that has grown to 2,300 physicians, the group’s power at the negotiating table is an important draw, according  to CEO John Schmeling, MD.

    “We have been very successful with commercial payers,” says Schmeling. “We have contracts with two Medicare Advantage plans as well.” The IPA also offers benefits such as its own billing company and professional liability company, which he says provides savings.

    Physicians have the option of buying stock in the IPA and paying no annual membership fee, or paying $125 annually as a primary care physician or $250 as a specialist. For every contract the IPA negotiates, physicians in both categories pay a fee ranging from 1.5% to 2.5% per transaction.

    Some physicians in IPAs have found that membership helps them negotiate tricky situations where they might not otherwise get reimbursed. For example, if a medical office checks on the status of a patient’s insurance coverage, but the insurer’s system doesn’t yet indicate a lapse, the physician might not get reimbursed.

    If insurers have a relationship with an IPA to which that physician belongs “they pay attention more,” says Richard Segool, MD, who practices at Pioneer Valley Pediatrics in Enfield, Connecticut, a seven-physician practice that also has an office in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. He is also president of the roughly 1,200-member Greater Springfield IPA, founded about 20 years ago.

    But being part of an IPA brings obligations, too. To meet federal guidelines and avoid anti-trust violations, IPAs must take financial risk. To demonstrate that, says Kancilia, an IPA might agree to provide all services to patients at a capitated rate. IPAs are also expected to take steps to improve patient care and reduce costs.

    Next: Leverage data


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    • Tammy Mocal
      Well Elaine Pofeldt! I am very happy to read about this article "How to survive in independent practice". It is correct statement because I have red plus seen numerous essay site archvie but your contetn consist an attrection for the reader because of that anyone who look at this post recommend for reading once.
    • NimmiD
      This is common problem with all intern practitioner. Need some solution for this. I am looking something good out of this. dental implants india
    • EthanBryan
      It is very difficult to survive in the independent practice because of many reasons. There will not a proper guidance for the doctors and the people who are doing practice didn't learn properly.valet parking luton
      The place to start is the most critical area for a practice — its financial condition and operations. The best way to do this is with good benchmarking data. These data can be secured through many sources, including healthcare associations such as the Medical Group Management Association, suppliers, and networking. By comparing a practice's performance relative to benchmarking data, key areas of weakness can be identified for action. Benchmarking data should reflect the size, geography, specialty, and operating model of a practice, although some metrics can be viewed more universally. contact me for further information: http://www.medpmr.com/

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