Maine Medicine Weekly Update - Maine Medicine Weekly Update
August 06, 2021  (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
Weekly Headline
•  New Maine Immunization Law for Schools Takes Effect Sep 1
Annual Membership Meeting
•  Registration Open for MMA’s 168th Annual Membership Meeting (Sep 10-12)
COVID-19 Pandemic Updates, Guidance & News
•  Resources & News: COVID Vaccination Mandates Dominate Recent Pandemic Discussion
•  Connecting Providers and Schools for COVID-19 Administration
Maine CDC Health Action Alerts
•  Maine CDC Investigates Four Recent Cases of Legionella in Bangor Area
•  Maine CDC Health Alert Network: Varicella (Chickenpox)
Maine CDC Immunizations
•  Maine CDC Makes New Vaccine Products Available Through Maine Immunization Program (MIP)
•  Maine CDC Vaccine Provider Training
Independent Physician Practices
•  JAMA: The Increasing Role of Physician Practices as Bill Collectors—Destined for Failure
•  AMA Drafts CY 2022 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule Summary
JAMA
•  This Week’s Top Articles from JAMA Network
•  AMA: What Doctors Wish Patients Knew Series
More News
•  SUPPORT for ME: Strengthening Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Services for MaineCare Members
•  Daniel Hanley Center for Health Leadership’s Renowned Physician Executive Leadership Institute – The Advanced Course
•  Maine Community Action Partnership: Did You Know?
•  MMA Mary Cushman, MD Award for Humanitarian Service - 7/30 Nomination Deadline
UPCOMING EVENTS
•  Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
•  AAP EQIPP Course: Immunizations - Strategies for Success (for RURAL Health Providers)
•  SUPPORT for ME Training and Technical Assistance Initiative
•  Working with Children & Adolescents? Maine Pediatric & Behavioral Health Partnership (MPBHP) Webinar Series (August thru December 2nd Wednesday of month)
HEALTHCARE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
•  Nurse Practitioner
•  Physician
•  Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Richmond Area Health Center
•  Help educate new physicians – join our accredited Family Medicine Residency Program as faculty
•  Join our region-leading Neuroscience/Stroke Center
•  Contract Clinical Advisor - Healthcare Coalition of Maine
•  Medical Director
•  Northern Light Health is seeking board-eligible/board-certified Cardiologists

 

JAMA: The Increasing Role of Physician Practices as Bill Collectors—Destined for Failure

Through increasing deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments, the privately insured population in the US is responsible for a larger share of health care out-of-pocket costs. Although many studies have examined the effects on patients, the implications for physicians have received less attention. The increase in cost sharing is forcing many physicians and health systems to take on the role of bill collectors. It is a task for which physician practices are unsuited. The result is a system with substantial administrative burden, frustrated patients struggling with confusing bills, and physicians receiving less compensation.

Through increasing deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments, the privately insured population in the US is responsible for a larger share of health care out-of-pocket costs. Although many studies have examined the effects on patients, the implications for physicians have received less attention. The increase in cost sharing is forcing many physicians and health systems to take on the role of bill collectors. It is a task for which physician practices are unsuited. The result is a system with substantial administrative burden, frustrated patients struggling with confusing bills, and physicians receiving less compensation.

Conclusion

The growth of cost sharing and HDHPs has resulted in patients’ taking on more of the cost of their own care and in physicians’ holding the risk and responsibility of collecting large dollar amounts. Physician offices are poorly suited to the task, exacerbating a complex and confusing system for patients and clinicians alike. New private firms have developed products to simplify, consolidate, and improve billing. However, these private-sector solutions may help ameliorate the problem but will not solve it. Only larger shifts in how out-of-pocket costs are envisioned will meaningfully address the burden of high out-of-pocket spending on both patients and physicians.

Read the full article here.