Decrease in reimbursements requires GIs to do more with less

Published Date: January 11th, 2012

With the advent of reform within the healthcare system, doctors all over America are scrambling to absorb the hit from decreases in reimbursements and either stagnant or increased medical expenses. Most doctors said that patient care though high-quality endoscopy procedures, such as colonoscopy for the screening and prevention of colon cancer, cannot be compromised.

“Revenue in gastroenterology is decreasing and, as in all areas of medicine, it will have a negative impact,” said Irving Klasky, M.D., a private practitioner at San Fernando Valley Gastroenterology Medical Group in Tarzana, California.

Dr. Klasky said that he cannot let economic downturns affect the quality of patient care he provides, but recent changes have affected his income. He also said that although the field of gastroenterology is still growing, he was not optimistic about the effectiveness of gastroenterology societies and leaders in the community to better his circumstances. Dr. Klasky studied medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) David Geffen School of Medicine. He has been a gastroenterologist for nearly 50 years.

Many gastroenterology doctors share Dr. Klasky’s opinion that organizations such as the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) are not effective in enacting practical change for doctors who are too busy seeing patients to do much else. According to Rick Shacket, D.O., M.D., attendance at the national meetings held by these institutional societies is very low and is testament that more cooperation and collaboration among field professionals will be necessary in the future.

 “It’s getting worse now with all these changes,” said Marla Dubinsky, M.D. from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, referring to recent reform in healthcare and how it affects doctors. “Doing ‘more with less’ is the motto that we will have [work with] because of a need do more in order to generate more revenue.”

Dr. Dubinsky is currently the Abe and Claire Levine Chair in Pediatric Inflammatory Disease. She is the founding director of the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she also teaches as Associate Professor of pediatrics. Throughout her fellowship training, Dr. Dubinsky has developed expertise in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. She now conducts research on inflammatory bowel disease funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).