All Posts Tagged: cms

What is Physician Burnout

What is Physician Burnout?

“Physician Burnout syndrome” is a real condition in which fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy associated with work-related stress becomes overwhelming and debilitating, according to the Association for Psychological Science. While some level of stress is expected, particularly in the medical field, at some point these stressors can become overbearing, leading some physicians to contemplate leaving the profession or worse.


Physicians are the ones on the front lines of patient care. While other types of professional burnout can be devastating, this is particularly true of doctors because they tend to suffer it more severely. According to Definitive Healthcare, physician burnout manifests itself in many ways, such as:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for work
  • Growing cynicism about patients or career
  • Low sense of self-worth

As a result, these feelings can lead to poor job performance, abandonment of the profession, and in rare cases even suicide. Healthcare researchers are trying to pinpoint the root causes and manage this physician burnout at the organizational level. Some types of physicians experience more burnout than others. Those in critical care experience the highest, followed by emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine and general surgery.

The Patient Side

Burnout doesn’t just affect the doctor, but the patient as well. That’s because this condition can negatively impact a doctor’s mental state and career, leading to a decrease in patient care quality. Not only are higher rates of medical errors reported in those with burnout, patient access, and overall experience are negatively impacted. Physicians suffering from burnout say that they are quick to cut down on office hours and even respond in a negative or clipped manner when interacting with patients.

Causes of Physician Burnout

The causes of physician burnout are highly individualized, and many doctors feel multiple sources of burnout. Medscape says the following are the top causes for physician burnout, in order of importance:

  • Too many bureaucratic tasks
  • Too many hours at work
  • Not enough income
  • Increasing computerization of practice
  • Impact of Affordable Care Act
  • Difficult patients
  • Too many appointments daily
  • Lack of professional fulfillment
  • Difficult colleagues or staff
  • Inability to keep up with current research

Also included in the Medscape report is that women (51%) experience burnout more often than men (43%) and those between age 46 and 55 are most likely to experience burnout. Physicians that are burned out report not exercising as much as they should, with low motivational levels. Sometimes, volunteering, doing mission work, or working with church groups adds to the stress of their lives rather than relieves it. A third of burned out physicians say they have minimal savings compounded by unmanageable debt.

In many cases, physicians reported feeling overwhelmed with administrative tasks that detract from their ability to spend time with their patients. Research shows the average physician spends two hours on administrative tasks for every hour that they interact with patients.

One way to mitigate this is to make office tasks more streamlined. Instead of handling billing issues, which can suck up a large portion of a doctor’s day, outsourcing this to a medical billing provider would be a better use of time. By decreasing time spent on mundane tasks, the physician is freed up to spend more quality time with each patient. This can take away a bit of the stress that so often overwhelms physicians on a daily basis.

Contact Medical Healthcare Solutions

We can help. From mobile medical billing solutions to revenue cycle management, Medical Healthcare Solutions can help physicians reduce their chances of burnout by handling the time-consuming tasks of running a practice. Contact us at 800-762-9800 or fill out our convenient online form.

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MACRA Final Rule

What to Know Now That CMS Has Released MACRA Final Rule

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released its final rule regarding the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), a revolutionary payment system for Medicare physician fees proposed to replace the sustainable growth rate formula in an effort to modernize the system and make it more streamlined. The ruling serves to finalize MACRA’s Quality Payment Program, the goal of which is to lessen the administrative stress placed on doctors so that they may be able to better concentrate on patient care and add more value to these newer models. The intent is to get all clinicians on board working together on this initiative so that they can implement this Quality Payment Program within a time frame that works for them.

MACRA’s rulings can understandably get a little complicated and convoluted, so let’s go over some key points and explain them all in detail.

Who qualifies for the program? If you are a physician, PA, NP, anesthetist, or clinical nurse specialist that bills Medicare for more than $30,000 per year or provides care for at least 100 patients who have Medicare, you qualify for MACRA.

When does it start? January 1, 2017 was the initial start date, but you can begin anytime between now and October 2, 2017. Data collection is due to CMS by March 31, 2018, with payment adjustments taking place on the first of January, 2019.

What are the participation options? Provider participation can take two forms: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM). MIPS is for health care providers who offer traditional, fee-for-service Medicare. Advanced APM is for providers taking part in value-based care models that are unique to their applications.

How can small practices participate? Because small, independent practices can often get left behind in these new rulings, CMS has made special requirements for them. Those who bill for less than $30,000 on Medicare or have fewer than 100 Medicare patients do not have to participate this year. Another available option is for small practices and solo practitioners to come together and submit combined MIPS data. Doctors who provide services in underserved areas or who operate in practices of fewer than 15 can take advantage of the allotment of $20 million a year for five years for training and education.

What makes the final rule so streamlined? The result of the final rule is a more unified program, featuring five critical changes, including:

  • Flexible first-year options
  • Allowance of low-volume threshold for small practices
  • Advanced APM as a standard to promote participation in value-based care models
  • Makes “all-or-nothing” EHR requirements easier to follow
  • Creates the medical home model in an effort to promote care coordination

Overall, the response to the final ruling has been positive, particularly in regards to the American Medical Association. To learn more about the above points, visit the Quality Payment Program here. The final ruling is still in its infancy stages, with the CMS still planning on hosting listening and learning sessions as a sounding board for future proposed changes.

Contact Medical Healthcare Solutions

To learn more about how MACRA affects your practice and how we can help you streamline your own business, contact us at 800-762-9800. We help providers in a variety of specialties, including cardiology, family practice, general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, podiatry, psychiatry, pulmonary, gastroenterology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, urology, student health services and more. We bring decades of medical billing experience and service to the healthcare industry to help ensure the highest standard of service.

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