PracticeLink Magazine

FALL 2014

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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FALL 2014 PracticeLink.com | 93 Virginia Beach: It's not just for vacation anymore Find out more today! Erin Elliot-Hill, CMSR call (305) 569-9046 text (804) 286-0899 email erin@mdrsearch.com We offer opportunities in a variety of locations throughout Virginia, including: Virginia Beach Hampton Roads Newport News Hampton Williamsburg Portsmouth Norfolk Suffolk Chesapeake Find the work-life balance you deserve in Virginia! A major healthcare system in Virginia is actively seeking additional Internists and Family Medicine physicians to join a number of new and established practices in Central and Eastern Virginia. Whether you're looking to help a new practice grow or join an established and successful team, we have the right opportunity for you! Practice features include: Family friendly offce hours Very light phone call Opportunity to pursue interests in Sports Medicine, Geriatrics, Academics and Women's Health structures and transparency of qual- ity reports. Increased fees paid by Blue Cross Blue Cross and Blue Shield compa- nies (of which there are 37) are spending $65 billion per year in programs that provide incentives for better health outcomes. That represents approximately one out of fve medical claim dollars paid by Blue Cross. Blue Cross cites studies that report that 30 percent of health care expenditures goes to care that is ineffective or redundant. Through its incentive program, Blue Cross seeks to reduce that amount. The companies report success in lowering infection rates, lowering unnecessary emergency room visits, and reducing hospital stays. Like the federal government, Blue Cross seeks to promote coordinated care. CareFirst, Blue Cross's Patient-Centered Medical Home program, pays providers a 12 percent increase in the fee schedule in exchange for the added efforts and time spent coordinating care, particularly for the sickest patients. Impact of socioeconomic factors A controversy in the pay-for-perfor- mance movement is the degree to which socioeconomic factors should be considered in setting payments. Persons with low income, low education, and persons in some racial groups often have more negative outcomes. Physicians and hospitals that treat such populations may be fnancially penalized by the use of traditional across-the-board quality measures. The National Quality Forum, which evaluates quality measures for the Medicare system, issued a draft report advocating consideration of what it terms "sociodemographic factors." The forum said that not adjusting for sociodemographic factors "could lead to greater disparities in care, due to disadvantaged populations losing access to care as provid- ers become more hesitant to treat them." On the other hand, some comments submitted about the report objected to the use of sociodemographic factors, arguing that they could lead to different— and inferior—standards of care for certain population groups. CMS will consider the report in its future rule-making. Possible cut in payments In another development, CMS announced that payments to physi- cians for Medicare services will be cut by 20.9 percent on April 1, 2015, if Congress does not inter- vene. This is the result of a 1997 law that contains the Sustainable Growth Rate formula. Nearly everyone in Congress agrees the formula does not work and should be replaced, but Congress has not reached agreement on how. In the mean time, for each of the last 11 years, Congress has passed temporary measures that suspended payment cuts and usually provided a moderate increase in payments for physicians. The same thing is likely to happen in 2015 unless Congress enacts a permanent fx. l Jef Atkinson (JAtkin747@aol.com) teaches health care law at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. Find your dream practice— and enter to win a GoPro camera—at PracticeLink.com/Win WIN

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