Summary: Health insurers beat down physicians in contract negotiations with fuzzy numbers, run-arounds, and other ruses associated with used-car lots, practice consultant Ron Howrigon told attendees here at the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) 2015 Annual Conference,” writes Robert Lowes over at Medscape. “Howrigon should know. For 18 years, he worked in the managed care industry, running provider networks and negotiating contracts with medical practices. Now he coaches those same practices…. ‘When I worked on the payer side, we used to joke all the time that negotiating with physicians was like negotiating with somebody who brings a knife to a gunfight,’ said Howrigon, president and chief executive officer of Fulcrum Strategies in Raleigh, North Carolina. ‘You don’t win many of those, so be prepared.’ It is more important than ever for medical practices to forge good deals with private insurers, said Howrigon. The cost-cutting imperative of healthcare reform is making these companies more aggressive, ‘and when they get aggressive, they take it out on physicians.'” Among the tricks: “Our lady of perpetual negotiations” (three years for a contract), “two steps forward, three steps back,” or “negotiating on a treadmill,” or ” “You ask for something, my response is, ‘I have to check with corporate.'” For more, click here: Robert Lowes, MedScape.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...