Difficult Practice Decisions Loom Upon Return from The Big Easy

October 29, 2010
Keith L. Martin

Preparing for the future is never an easy task, especially in the world of healthcare post-reform, but the annual MGMA conference in New Orleans gave practice administrators and others a great set of tips, advice, and information to use to look ahead.

Two things are guaranteed when you return from any professional conference: First, you have 25 new gadgets and just as many pens you may or may not use; and second, your head is full of useful -and sometimes overwhelming - information.

Having just returned from the 2010 MGMA Conference in New Orleans, I lean toward the latter as my tiny suitcase didn't have room for any stuffed animals, fancy letter openers, or even a lone keychain. But what I did take back from Louisiana was a better understanding of the myriad of concerns and issues facing practice administrators today.

The event's organizers did an excellent job of framing the current state of practice management both on an individual and national level. The educational sessions offered by the MGMA were diverse and appealed to practices of any shape and size.

Having attended several sessions along with my colleagues at Physicians Practice (see our complete coverage here), our belief in what you might find of value in terms of practice management advice and information was only affirmed by the crowd sizes for these sessions.

There was no lack of focus on how the healthcare industry is changing in a post-Affordable Care Act world and how to react to all the changes that are yet to come. Amid the changes spurred by reform, as well as possible cuts to Medicare and declining reimbursements, there were a number of offerings on physician-hospital partnerships and physicians being acquired.

Technology was another hot topic in the new healthcare landscape where EHR has joined its tri-lettered colleagues EKG and MRI amid the top of the medical acronym pyramid. Whether you think technology will make a big impact on its own or believe it is good practice management that guides innovation and not vice versa, there was something for you. And there was plenty of talk on "meaningful use" as well.

And maybe you aren't looking to invest financially in new technology, but instead revamp that practice culture. Well, the MGMA conference had a lot to offer in ways to boost morale and get physicians talking and working together.

If you couldn't be in New Orleans this week or if you were there and didn't get to all the sessions you hoped, please check out our vast array of coverage, including a pair of videos and several podcasts.

Sorry we can't offer you any fancy trinkets with our name on it, but what we can do is spread the word of practice experts on how to make your office a little more prepared and a lot more informed about the new healthcare environment around you and how to survive.