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Cash flow, reimbursement are biggest challenges facing physicians in 2017, survey shows

Almost 70 percent cited cash flow and reimbursement as their top concerns, with similar numbers saying waiting for payment is painful.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

In 2017, cash flow and reimbursement for patient treatment will be the two most pressing business issues physicians will grapple with according to a survey by Capital One Spark Business.

COSB polled 162 physicians at the 2016 Pri-Med Mid-West Annual Conference in Chicago in the hopes of learning more about the concerns that were top of mind for physicians and practice owners nationwide.

Results showed that 69 percent cited cash flow and reimbursement as their top concerns and 71 percent of respondents described "moderate" to "very severe pain" in waiting for payment for medical services. More than half of those surveyed said the biggest expense they shoulder is the cost of salaries and benefits for their support staff.

[Also: Staffing shortages top list of C-suite concerns in economic outlook, Premier says]

The combination of cash flow and reimbursement is further echoed in another key finding that said 40 percent of physicians charge their practices' biggest expenses to a business or corporate credit card.

"The biggest expense physicians cited to keep their practice up and running was the cost of salaries and benefits for their support staff, highlighting the importance of the staff across a physician practice and the urgency facing these practices in managing cash flow and revenue," Capital One said in a statement.

Physicians and practice leaders raised other concerns as well, with 19 percent citing regulation and 12 percent singling out harnessing the latest technology as their biggest challenges for 2017.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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