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Athenahealth, Inc. (ATHN) Message Board

  • mghmd mghmd Jan 22, 2013 10:40 PM Flag

    More physicians are being employed by hospitals because of superior reimbursement by hospitals

    This is an unfortunate trend for ATHN, reducing its potential client base;

    NEPTUNE BEACH, Florida — In a recent survey, 53% of responding US cardiology practices reported they were fully integrated with a hospital to the extent that their physicians were hospital employees [1]. Geographically, the practices, representing 2420 physicians, hailed from across the country, with a predominance in the South.

    The survey, conducted and reported by the consulting firm MedAxiom, had been sent to 960 cardiology practices and hospitals in August 2012; 156 (16%) responded. In addition to the 73 practices that reported full integration with a hospital, 20 said they were in the process, 17 said they were considering it, and 28 said they aren't considering but were open to it in the future. Five practices, or 3%, responded that "we will never consider integration."

    A fourth of the integrated hospitals were tertiary-care centers, and another 33% were defined as "general or community" hospitals.

    The MedAxiom report cites a number of "important industry and other external factors" that have undercut the viability of the traditional "contractual-collaborative" cardiologist-hospital relationship.

    They include an "onslaught" of legislation aimed specifically at such alliances, economic pressure on physicians from cuts in reimbursement, enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and realization that the traditional arrangement "was unsustainable from a cost perspective and the likely culprit was the fragmented structure of the industry and the fee-for-service payment model."

    Sentiment: Sell

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    • georgespelvin Jan 23, 2013 12:26 AM Flag

      Actually hospitals have THE WORST billing departments in medical-dom. They also have the most expensive organizations. Further the article does not say what you said. Finally many cardiologists do procedures. Catheterizations, pacemaker implants etc.

      Integrating versus interfacing. Important distinction totally lost on 99% of the people who own these stocks. Even on the people in the field making buying decisions.

      But you are right. There is a chaotic rush today to get large as there was 15 years ago. This time the story is different. The acronyms are different. And both of them change every six months. But the bottom line is business people are trying to gather up idiotic sums of money being offered by the government to get big even though in service businesses big means expensive.

      The doctors learned this ten years ago. The ones that are joining are scared. And tired. The ones who are not remember ten years ago.

      The cost of medical care goes up with EMR. if you want to reduce the cost of medical care by 50% you need to get the brain dead religious right wing to agree to meet their Maker and sit by his feet for all eternity just three months earlier and with some dignity. You need to outlaw cigarettes. And you need to ban 400 pound people from entering grocery stores. Then you need to figure out how to stop people from seeing their doctor 7 out of the 10 times when they don't need to (colds and diarrhea). Then you need to get rid of insurance companies. They do NOTHING but make money. Finally every time you need medical care you need to pay something. That is capitalists way of rationing. Rationing medical care, food, liquor, movies, new cars , hair gel. Nature's death panels.

      The problem is not that we don't know the problem. It is that we don't like the problem. So we invent problems we don't have. Nothing is more attractive than addressing problems we don't have. It is the human condition.

      Sentiment: Strong Sell

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