Dr. William Rambo: Tackling declining reimbursement and other big spine practice challenges

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William Rambo, MD, is a neurosurgeon with Midlands Orthopaedics & Neurosurgery in Columbia, S.C.

Here, Dr. Rambo discusses the most challenging part of his practice, initiatives he plans to roll out in 2020 and strategies surgeons can adapt to deal with declining reimbursements.

Note: Responses are lightly edited for style and clarity.

Question: What has been the most challenging part of your practice this year? What strategies or initiatives are you planning on implementing in 2020?

Dr. William Rambo: Navigating diverse and complex payer administrative requirements to receive payment for services is increasingly labor and cost-intensive. In 2020, our practice intends to leverage technology whenever possible to reduce manual administrative work as well as enhance the patient experience. App-based solutions and machine learning/artificial intelligence-enabled platforms are quickly advancing as viable options in the practice setting to reduce manual tasks.

Q: What is the next major regulatory change you would like to see in healthcare?

WR: Administrative burdens and costs across the healthcare continuum would be dramatically reduced if eligibility and preauthorization processes were standardized across payer platforms.

Q: What are some strategies that spine surgeons can implement to deal with declining reimbursements?

WR: Spine surgeons in private practice who are aligned with ASCs are well positioned to provide cost-effective services in a transparent manner to all purchasers: patients, traditional health insurance carriers as well as innovative employers. 

Providers who proactively share their quality data in conjunction with cost-effective outpatient options and provide an excellent patient experience are equipped to thrive in this new era of transparency. Physicians who establish reputations of offering high quality, fairly priced surgical services are likely to do well despite declining reimbursement in traditional fee-for-service models.

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