Knowledge Expansion

Insights: How to combat financial distress in the independent medical practice

Podcast

Financial Management

Revenue Cycle

Practice Efficiency



In this episode of the MGMA Insights podcast, we’re joined by Katie Nunn, CEO of Bright Ideas Medical Consulting. Nunn has been in the healthcare industry for 20 years, first as a practice administrator and now as a consultant. Over that time, she’s gained valuable knowledge about how to spot the signs and symptoms of financial distress, as well as ways to diagnose and treat it. 

Don't quite have time to listen to the entire episode? No worries. We've compiled a handful of highlights from Nunn's interview for your convenience: 
  • (4:14) "I would describe financial distress as just anything from not being able to pay your bills or make ends meet each month … The most distressing scenario is when a practice owner isn’t able to pay themselves after they pay all the other expenses that they have."
  • (6:13) “I think that size matters. I think that the smaller the practice is, the less room for error that they have. Because they don’t have as many resources and they don’t have the shared overhead that they can spread out amongst a larger practice. But you also see it with larger practices, too … It certainly happens to the bigger groups. It’s just that it might not mean that they have to think about closing their doors, but it could still be pretty stressful.”
  • (19:43) "You just can’t take the ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand approach, because then you’re going to wind up with a bigger problem than you can maybe deal with. Another way to think about it is the only way that you know you don’t have high blood pressure is that you have your blood pressure checked, right? So, you can’t assume that you don’t have a financial problem if you’re not checking on it regularly."
  • (23:26) "We’re constantly preaching, ‘Get your mammogram,’ ‘Get your colonoscopy,’ because these are like lifesaving tests, or can be. Well, I kind of look at having a practice assessment done as something that a seemingly healthy practice should have done on a periodic basis."
  • (25:41) "I think that it’s all about having a plan. That’s kind of a basic business concept. Most businesses need or should have a business plan. But medical practices in the past, it was you go out there and hang your shingle and you were going to make money, right? I think the days of that are gone, because healthcare’s so complicated now. You need to have a plan … I think that’s just good business practice.”

Here are some links and references related to this week’s show: 

* Hospital Bankruptcies Are On the Rise, Hitting Rural Areas Hard
* Quantifying Financial Distress to Stop Hospital Bankruptcy, Closure
* Springfield Hospital can’t pay it’s bills. ‘It’s very unnerving.’

You can learn more about financial management and other essential healthcare topics at MGMA19 | The Annual Conference, Oct. 13-16 in New Orleans. Visit mgma.com/bigeasy19 for more info and to register. 

If you like the show, please rate and review it wherever you get your podcasts. We love hearing from listeners about the show. If you have topics you’d like us to cover or experts you’d like us to interview, email us at podcasts@mgma.com

MGMA Insights is presented by Craig Wiberg, Rob Ketcham, Decklan McGee and Daniel Williams. 

Thanks to MGMA 19 Live for sponsoring this episode of MGMA Insights. For more information or to register for the only way to receive The Annual Conference experience from your home or office, visit mgma.com/aconline.
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