Nearly nine in 10 medical group practice leaders have said that the overall regulatory burden on their organization has increased over the past year, according to a new survey from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).
With responses from 426 medical group practices, this survey reveals the true impacts of federal regulations on the U.S. healthcare system, according to MGMA leaders who released the findings of the 2018 Regulatory Burden Survey at the association’s annual conference this week.
A vast majority (86 percent) of respondents reported the overall regulatory burden on their medical practice has increased over the past 12 months. Even more respondents (94 percent) agreed that a reduction in regulatory burden would allow their practice to reallocate resources toward patient care.
“This precipitous increase in regulatory burden over the past 12 months should alarm policymakers,” Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of federal affairs, said at the conference this week. “MGMA's survey provides valuable insight into what’s ailing medical practices. Its findings will enable HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] to refocus and redouble its efforts to create meaningful regulatory relief for physician practices.”
Medicare’s Quality Payment Program (QPP)—including the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)—ranked as the most burdensome issue, according to the research. About 88 percent of respondents found the QPP to be very or extremely burdensome, with little clinical benefit. Currently, the QPP reporting system is in year two, and the requirements in 2018 are a step up from what was mandated last year. Only 9 percent of respondents said they are either satisfied or very satisfied with their performance feedback in MIPS.
What’s more, the percentage of medical practices citing the lack of electronic health record (EHR) interoperability as very or extremely burdensome increased 12 percent (from 68 percent to 80 percent) since last year, the research found.
One survey respondent noted specifically, “Interoperability will never be achieved at the rate we’re going without bankrupting most private medical practices. As each of the EHR vendors moves toward their own interpretation of interoperability, they create different versions of their own software that cost all of us more to implement, and we can’t afford any more.”
Due to the complexities and burdens posed by these federal obstacles, many medical practices are struggling with the move to value-based payment, the MGMA found. Ninety percent of respondents reported the move toward value-based payment (in Medicare/Medicaid) increased the regulatory burden on their practice, and 76 percent said it has not improved the quality of care delivered.
Physicians’ frustrations over the direction of the healthcare landscape is nothing new. A recent survey of 3,400 clinicians found that seven out of 10 were unwilling to recommend their chosen profession to their children or other family members, with frustrations over EHRs and value-based care ranking as key reasons why.