Survey shows cardiologists dour about future

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Cardiologists asked to predict the future of their specialty were overall pessimistic, according to a survey by MedAxiom. Results showed 82 percent being very or somewhat pessimistic about the state of cardiology in 2013 while only 12 percent were very or somewhat optimistic.

MedAxoim conducted the survey at a conference in October that included more than 200 cardiologists and cardiovascular executives in attendance.

Queried about the likelihood that Congress will eliminate the sustainable growth rate reductions for Medicare reimbursements, 11 percent responded that they were very pessimistic and 28 percent said they were somewhat pessimistic it would happen. The cuts, which have been overridden by Congress every year since 2003, would reduce Medicare reimbursements to physicians by 27 percent.

On the flip side, 35 percent responded that they were somewhat optimistic the cuts would be eliminated and 9 percent said they were very optimistic.

The majority of respondents viewed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) negatively, with 32 percent selecting “very negative” and 29 percent choosing “somewhat negative” when to asked to project the impact of PPACA on their practice one year out. None responded that it would have a “very positive” impact while 30 percent thought it would have a “somewhat positive” impact.

The overwhelming majority linked federal issues to the long-term fiscal health of their groups: 76 percent chose federal regulation and legislation, PPACA and reimbursement policies of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as having the greatest influence on their financial well-being over the next three to five years. A total of 22 percent identified local and regional issues, with 17 percent choosing referral patterns and market share and 5 percent selecting managed care contracts and their commercial fee schedule.

Looking five years out, 74 percent said cost savings or meeting quality measures would be the most important gauge for reimbursement.

Neptune Beach, Fla.-based MedAxiom is a subscription-based service provider and networking resource for cardiology practices.