At AlteraMed Group, executives with long experience in health care help physicians maintain independently run practices while conquering the managerial, financial and legislative challenges they often face.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for physicians to practice medicine independently, studies find. More than a third of physicians plan to leave the practice of medicine for retirement or to pursue another career over the next decade, according to a 2013 survey. However, those physicians whose incomes rose during 2013–2014 planned to stay in business. Dorma L. Kohler, MBA, CMPE, President of AlteraMed Group, LLC, sees these national trends playing out among physicians across Texas.
“They are challenged by increasing costs, declining revenues and growing regulatory burdens,” Kohler says. “Supplies, payroll, rent and utilities are all becoming more expensive, while reimbursements are falling. Practices are searching desperately for ways to share and cut costs without sacrificing patient care.”
Practices in numerous medical and healthcare specialties, ranging in size from one to more than 100 providers, benefit from AlteraMed’s services. Some unite in what Kohler refers to as “clinics without walls,” forming group practices to benefit from significant cost savings, enhanced revenues, and synergies such as joint purchasing power while maintaining their own locations.
Since its inception in 2006, AlteraMed has grown until it now has relationships with practices in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth and Austin. Many customers are satisfied partners who have stayed with AlteraMed almost since the company’s beginning.
An Alternative to Practice Management
Not all physicians place a high premium on practicing independently, Kohler notes. Some find their best option is partnering with other physicians or finding employment with a hospital or health system. However, Kohler believes firmly that the choice should belong to the physician.
For those physicians who want the best of both worlds, AlteraMed offers a third option, providing security while empowering physicians to continue practicing independently. Kohler notes that in the past, physicians have been persuaded to sell their practices to companies claiming to offer similar services to AlteraMed’s. Many of those transactions failed because the physician and the management company had different expectations about the relationship. However, AlteraMed is not a practice management company that buys practices, but rather a management services company that supports practices. Practice ownership is retained wholly by the physicians, who pay AlteraMed for discrete services or packages of services.
AlteraMed can step in and lend a hand at any stage of a practice’s lifecycle.
“We often consult and assist with starting a practice,” Kohler says. “We help physicians make good business decisions, investments and budgeting strategies. Our goal is to guide physicians to plan for success right from the beginning.”
Other practices may be more interested in having specific services outsourced. AlteraMed can help here, too, providing services such as coding and billing, credentialing, and compliance management. Other services include legal, financial and facility planning necessary to setting up a practice; day-to-day front and back office operations; accounts payable; payroll; information technology and electronic health records; financial reporting; credentialing; human resource management; and marketing strategy.
In fact, AlteraMed Group can provide almost any office management or strategic planning service outside of the provision of medical care.
“It’s really one-stop shopping,” Kohler says.
To learn more, visit www.alteramedgroup.com.