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73% of Medical Practice Administrators Cite Rising Operating Costs as Top Challenge; Healthcare Reform Looms Large -- Leading HR Outsourcer Launches Astra HR Cares to Provide HR Industry Insight, Educational Resources, Ongoing Monitoring, Tips and Tools f

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 10, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- At a time when 73% of medical practices cite dealing with operating costs rising more rapidly than revenues as a considerable or extreme challenge (Medical Group Management Association, July 2009 Member Opinion Survey), the unclear impact of recently passed healthcare reform legislation, termed the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," looms large for those who manage medical practices.

Astra HR, a national leader in human resource outsourcing, announced today the launch of Astra HR Cares (, a comprehensive suite of resources to empower medical industry professionals with tools to manage practices more effectively. Resources include timely and relevant news updates on healthcare reform, as well as robust educational and consultative resources surrounding recruiting and retention of quality staff, performance management and compensation planning. The initiative kicks off on May 25, 2010 at 1 p.m. ET with a free educational webinar, which will distill the 2,400-page legislation into more readily understood terms for medical practice administrators.

Four topics to be covered and that require immediate attention under the new legislation are: mandatory employee benefits W-2 reporting; tax credits available for employer health insurance contributions; the change of part-time workers now being counted in the calculation of full-time employees; and individual and employer coverage mandates.

According to a recent study released by the MGMA, 50 percent of medical practices that outsource HR functions realized an increase in employee and physician satisfaction. With more than 16 years of industry expertise serving a wide range of industries, including medical, dental and assisted living, Astra HR will provide regular legislative updates, information sessions and speaking engagements on topics relevant to the medical industry, a call-in line (1-800-776-0076) and Q&A forum on the website for inquiries, and products geared specifically to address issues surrounding healthcare reform impact as events unfold in the coming months and years.

"We see healthcare reform as a flashpoint for medical administrators - it's one more thing that they have to think about and plan for in an already fast-paced, hectic, overloaded work environment," commented Michael Irvine, chief operating officer of Astra HR. "Astra HR Cares is a destination resource for the people who run the front and back office functions at doctor's offices, dental practices, community hospitals, assisted living facilities, and the like. It's a place to visit often, sign up for regular updates, and to keep abreast of how healthcare reform will impact the way they run their businesses. More importantly, Astra HR Cares will focus on how medical group managers can tackle these challenges and run their businesses more effectively and efficiently." "The medical industry is at a crossroads," commented Jeff Agnor, a principal with the law firm of Davis, Agnor, Rapaport, & Skalny, LLC. "Medical practitioners, like any other business, don't like uncertainty. And there's plenty of uncertainty these days, with healthcare reform as well as expected changes in the employment environment generally. In my practice, many of the top concerns of the medical community are HR-related - including retention of staff, compensation planning and performance management. Medical administrators increasingly will need to know where to turn for expertise in addressing these issues." About Astra HR Astra HR is a leading provider of full service HR management solutions that is firmly rooted in their commitment to help clients maximize their people and business performance. Headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, Astra HR has been helping companies to streamline HR administration processes and leverage their HR investment since 1994. Astra HR is a portfolio company of Corstone Capital; a global investment firm with diverse holdings in industry sectors including real estate, distressed debt, aviation, business process outsourcing, human resources, technology and manufacturing.

Contact: Amanda Tiernan, 301-340-3800, SOURCE Astra HR Copyright (C) 2010 PR Newswire. All rights reserved -0- KEYWORD: Maryland INDUSTRY KEYWORD: HEA