Physicians' Top 5 Concerns in 2012

There are a lot of changes happening in the health care industry right now, which means physicians have a lot of concerns on their minds for 2012.

Last week, Becker’s ASC Review published a list of the

for surgery center physicians in 2012. While the some of these concerns are, unsurprisingly, solely applicable to surgeons, the majority are ones that almost every other physician shares.

top 10 concerns

The health industry where it is today, all physicians are worrying about some of the same things, such as declining reimbursements, regulations and switching to an EMR system.

From Becker’s top 10 concerns for surgery center physicians, here are the top five that apply to all physicians.

1. Decreasing reimbursements

The potential and looming cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, which would result in reimbursement decreases, are a huge concern for many physicians right now. Over the last 11 years, physicians have dodged this bullet 10 times, but many feel like their luck has run out.

A cut would mean that many physicians would change their practices, either by reducing how many Medicare patients they see, if any, or by not taking on any new Medicare patients.

2. Regulatory changes

Government policies and regulations are a rather large contributing factor to how stressed and burned out physicians are getting. Physicians were named the number three overrated job by CareerCast in October, and increased regulation was named as one of the reasons why the job made the list. Two other health jobs made the list: surgeon ranked number two and psychiatrist was number four.

3. Electronic medical records

The entire industry has been in turmoil over implementing new systems, how to choose one, how to train people to use them and how to avoid legal issues. Patients aren’t a huge fan because they believe EMRs are less secure than good old paper and ink.

The government is offering incentives to promote EMR adoption so the industry can meet meaningful use standards.

4. Availability and cost of staff

You may have heard, there’s a physician shortage in the U.S. Medical school enrollment is up, but the stress of the job is always causing more physicians to leave medicine entirely or just retire early. While physicians pay is still increasing, income will grow by less. In 2012, they are expected to increase by 2.5% compared to this year’s 2.7%.

5. ACOs and health care reform

While accountable care organizations seem to be the hot new thing, the truth is that they’re still an unknown for the most part. Plus, President Barack Obama’s health care reform is waiting in the Supreme Court for a final ruling. Overall, it has left the community a little split.

While some physicians are preparing for a world with the Affordable Care Act as law, others are hoping it will be overturned by the Supreme Court or effectively eliminated by the electing of a Republican president in 2012,” Becker reports.