The Florida Medical Association launched the Q3 Business of Medicine Quarterly Index Survey on Oct. 9, 2013, to identify specific issues affecting Florida physicians. The results of the email survey are based on the responses of 562 doctors — FMA members and non-FMA members. Among the most striking findings is that interactions with insurance companies are a significant drain on physicians’ time and that of their staff members.
A quarter of respondents (25 percent) reported that more than 15 staff hours a week are devoted to requesting prior authorizations from insurance companies, and 32.43 percent said more than 20 hours of staff time are devoted weekly to interactions with insurance companies or HMOs. Nearly 47 percent indicated that at least 20 percent of the procedures or services they provide are subject to prior approval before they are administered.
“The volume of administrative demands on physicians has reached a critical point, and ultimately it cuts into the amount of time they have to care for their patients,” said FMA Executive Vice President Timothy J. Stapleton. “Relieving those burdens is one of the FMA’s top priorities, and we provide our members with direct assistance so that they can focus on patient care instead of paperwork.”
Among the other key findings:
Said one respondent, “Our job is to take care of people in need. I see lots of indigent patients. … This way, we will have more patients who will have access to better care — hopefully, away from ‘emergent’ care.” Another respondent among the 42.46 percent who opposed expansion said, “It will flood emergency rooms with patients demanding services for non-acute care because they will not be able to find primary care physicians who accept Medicaid because of the low reimbursement rates.”
When asked about the most important thing the FMA can do to affect statewide health-care policy changes, the highest number of respondents (27.23 percent) answered, “Reduce burdensome regulations on physicians.” The previous FMA Business of Medicine survey, launched in July, revealed the same. The second-highest percentage (24.04 percent) responded, “Work to increase payment for physician services from government and private payers,” and the third highest (18.94 percent) said, “Bring more fairness to the medical liability system.” This mirrors the findings of the previous survey as well.
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