Physicians and managers working in small medical practices have a number of difficulties that cannot be addressed internally, unlike those working within large hospital systems, which have far more resources available to them. For instance, small medical practices may not have the financial backing necessary to install brand new IT systems and develop new care models or long-term care solutions.
A recent survey shows that small practices also experience the most difficulty in adding new Medicaid patients, according to American Medical News. A federal survey released by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that, while 96 percent of doctors are accepting new patients, 31 percent prefer not to accept those under Medicaid.
This is in contrast with 17 percent of polled physicians who will not accept new Medicare patients and 18 percent who prefer to avoid privately insured consumers. The data was published in the August edition of Health Affairs.
Jeremy Lazarus, the president of the American Medical Association (AMA), explained that physicians are reluctant to accept Medicaid patients because of low reimbursement rates under the program.
"Payments to physicians who treat Medicaid patients are far too low and have not kept up with the cost of providing care," Lazarus told the news source. "The Medicaid system is an important safety net and provides healthcare coverage to the neediest Americans. The AMA will continue to advocate for bringing Medicaid payments in line with the actual cost of caring for patients to ensure access to high-quality care in all states."
The Washington Times also reported on the difficulties doctors have in running a small medical practice. Many physicians are now leaving private practices to join larger hospital systems in order to avoid the heavy administrative burden associated with managing a practice. For those joining bigger healthcare systems, the desire to spend more time with patients was found to be the significant factor in their decision.
However, with the use of medical scribes, some physicians may be able to keep their practice and devote their time to patients. Since scribes can handle the medical documentation of a clinic or practice, doctors can care for patients instead of worrying about administrative tasks.