From simple practices to physician conglomerates: The burdensome journey of the practicing physician

In a recent Hayes Management Consulting blog, Vasilios Nassiopoulos reviews the burdensome journey of the practicing physician.

When it comes to medicine, many like to wax poetic over the simpler times of the 1990s. Although we have improved dramatically when it comes to medical advances and quality of care over the past several decades, clinicians sometimes long for a return to certain aspects of those “good old days” when practicing medicine was a much simpler pursuit.

Looking back at the evolution of the physician practice over the past quarter century, you can certainly understand that point of view. One thing is clear: the dramatic changes affecting the health care profession since the 1990s have contributed to a growing regulatory monster, which has negatively impacted the relationship between clinicians, compliance and revenue cycle teams.

In the early 1990s the provider landscape was much less complex, consisting of private clinics and single physician practices. Doctors were paid in cash or through claims payment from insurance companies. Claims were submitted manually in a simple, straightforward process that didn’t present any confusing choices. Guidelines for documentation didn’t exist and doctors were happier because they were generating revenue and seeing multiple patients – sometimes up to 40 a day. Physicians referred to their handwritten notes to refresh their memory when the patient returned for a follow-up. The one-to-one relationship with patients was highly satisfying. In those bygone days, there was little talk of compliance issues when it came to claims or reimbursements.

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