I was fortunate to be able to attend the Academy’s annual meeting earlier this month. I heard it was the best attended Academy meeting ever. It sure felt like a lot of people were there, and it was really great to catch up with so many of them. At the same time, there was a theme that emerged from the conversations I had: Times are tough.
O&P is not immune from challenges. In the late 2000s and early 2010s we were kicked in the teeth several times by CMS, mandatory accreditation, RAC and ZPIC audits, the Dear Physician letter, and other mandates. Many of our peers closed their doors in those times, but most were able to adapt and overcome. Then COVID hit us like a brick wall. A whole new paradigm reshaped not only our businesses, but our lives. While COVID, like the flu, will be with us forever now, we emerged from our cocoons to find a severe shortage of workers and a changed landscape. Companies that were thriving are now struggling with the basics of practice management. The amount of knowledge that has left our businesses is staggering. We find well-meaning government programs in place now that disincentivize work. We have inflation, an even tougher payer environment, and a new attitude among workers whose priorities have understandably shifted.