Physicians Shortage – Is There a Perfect Storm Brewing in the Healthcare Industry?

There has been a rapid growth in the healthcare industry, more than any other industry, mostly in response to rapid growth in the elderly population. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry will create 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018. However, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released a report which states that physician shortage will quadruple after the full implementation of health reforms in the year 2015. The reimbursement cuts in Medicare are another factor that is impacting delivery of healthcare, physician revenues, and the shortage of providers in the country. Moreover along with the expected attrition in the healthcare industry due to the reforms, almost one third of physicians are set to retire in the next decade. The number of new physicians is not going to be enough unless the Congress ensures a 15 percent increase in residency training slots in the country.

The outlook for physicians remains bittersweet. On the bleaker side of things are the Medicare cuts, the new extensive guidelines to be followed under the health reforms, with scare time resources. However physicians who successfully demonstrate Meaningful Use and follow such other guidelines and who choose to work in Health Professional Shortage Areas are set to gain financially from health reforms.

The importance of revenue cycle management, payer interaction, and similar revenue related functions becomes accentuated in light of the changes taking place in the health care system.

The need for better interaction with payers, improved medical billing and coding, and revenue cycle management is being felt because of the increased volume of patients and the lesser time available for treating each patient. Errors in medical billing and coding and mistakes in related “back office” functions can negatively affect the revenue of providers, as providers face these challenges:

  • With the increased number of patients due to universal insurance coverage, the number of denials by insurance companies would also increase necessitating constant interaction with insurance companies and payers
  • Another unique challenge faced by providers is the increasing population of baby boomers in the country. High numbers of elderly patients would mean more physicians –patient encounters and lesser time to provide quality care

One of the better ways of managing such high volume of patients is to optimize revenue through various processes including efficient medical billing and coding process, so that there are no losses due to avoidable errors and to ensure that lesser amount of time is spent on managing denied claims.

Professionals at, the largest consortium of medical billers and coders in the United States, not only provide effective medical billing and coding services but can also offer optimized revenue cycle management processes, better payer interaction, assistance in Meaningful Use implementation, and consultancy services for effectively dealing with challenges in the near future.