Despite the change in the Oval Office and a lot of press coverage on the fate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (and, more recently, the confusion caused by the failed attempt to repeal and replace), physician consolidation in the hospital- and office-based specialties will continue at a strong pace in 2017.
The prime mover: the changes in reimbursement from fee-for-service to value-based-purchasing under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (“MACRA”) which was finalized in 2016 with tremendous bipartisan support and went into effect on January 1, 2017. Under MACRA, physicians and physician practice groups are at risk for reimbursement based on the quality of care provided. Documenting that they have met the proper standards of care requires substantial investment in clinical data capture and reporting technology. Together, these new demands are driving doctors into larger organizations to share risk and to gain the efficiencies of scale needed to invest in the reporting infrastructure.