Why independent practices are 'struggling to stay afloat'

Mukesh Sharma, MD, interventional nephrologist at Reno, Nev.-based Sierra Nevada Specialty Care, joined Becker's to discuss the biggest threats to physicians. 

Editor's note: This response was edited lightly for length and clarity. 

Question: What is the biggest threat to physicians right now?

Dr. Mukesh Sharma: I believe the biggest threat is dwindling reimbursements in the face of escalating employee costs coupled with higher wages to retain employees to run practices and ASCs. Most everyone other than physicians have had an increase in wages during the past few years and the cost of running a practice has increased a lot without a comparable increase in revenue. This has led to a decrease in net profit to many independent practices across the country that are staring at depleting reserves and struggling to stay afloat. 

Question: What are your biggest concerns regarding reimbursements right now?

MS: It is becoming harder and harder to get paid by the payers and the amount of resources and energy required (in terms of pre-authorization, claim filing, dealing with denials and refiling, and decreasing reimbursements for more complicated procedures) is just suffocating and choking the small and medium-size practices.

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