In the year ahead, radiologists must continue to adapt to changes and rise to the evolving challenges delivered by health care reform, including better utilization of available data that are necessary to inform practice decisions and make long-term, significant changes to sustain their businesses, according to Mark Isenberg, Partner of Client Services with Zotec Partners. Isenberg discusses five topics with imagingBiz that should be on the radar for all radiologists in the coming year.

The flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula is a dark cloud of uncertainty that annually hangs over healthcare practitioners, threatening to trigger the government-mandated double digit cut in reimbursement rates for Medicare beneficiaries. When the temporary SGR patch was extended in April 2014 (for the 17th time), it was the inclusion of the ICD-10 delay that took healthcare by surprise and overshadowed other provisions of the Act. While the ICD-10 delay certainly warrants the attention of healthcare providers, there are other provisions included in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) of 2014 that deserve equal attention so that clinicians can prepare for the impending changes.

Radiology business managers help practices thrive in our challenging health care climate. They possess a level of sophisticated business experience sought out by radiologists who are being forced to take time away from patient care to attend to the business responsibilities of the practice. However, a business manager who steps in to handle these duties and alleviate the pressure on physicians still needs to approach them to obtain buy-in on various major practice decisions. The larger the practice, the more daunting this task can appear. David Myrice, director of practice management for Zotec Partners, walks us through the important steps in obtaining radiologist buy-in on important practice decisions.

The 2015 proposed changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) are consistent with those from previous years, continuing to whittle away the revenue stream of radiologists. While the overall impact to radiology is estimated at two percent based on the current proposal, there are some notable changes proposed that may cause the impact to be significantly higher in certain situations.

In an environment where radiologists are consistently being asked to do more with less, a simple increase in production is no longer a viable remedy to a problem. Practice managers and physician owners need to work smarter, instead of just harder. Using business intelligence data for predictive analytics, they are beginning to run their practices more efficiently, but also more effectively, challenging the status quo and using data to affect change. 

As healthcare evolves, so too must healthcare consumers, providers, and payors. Healthcare consumers have increased access to coverage through the new health law, as well as through cooperative efforts between employers, providers, and payors to provide more affordable coverage. Many of the new plans offer affordable premiums that unfortunately, come with high deductibles.

To achieve success in consolidating two radiology practices, it’s important that they are a “good fit.” But what determines a good fit?  While practices may be similar in size and may even have some structural similarities, no two practices are exactly alike.

Managing a radiology practice to achieve increased effectiveness and improved productivity is essential not only for survival, but also to maintain positive cash flow in today’s healthcare environment.

Running a radiology practice naturally forces clinicians to divide time between treating their patients and watching after their business.

The most common approach to succession planning among radiology practices is no approach at all, according to David Myrice, CPA, MBA, director of practice management for Zotec Partners.

Despite hopes for high enrollment through the health-insurance exchanges (HIEs) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the numbers are well below forecast levels as the March 31 enrollment deadline approaches.