Hospital TeamCare Announces View on Physicians’ Compensations Changes

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With the healthcare overhaul comes an unknown future for America’s patient care providers; Hospital TeamCare expands on possible compensation changes that will likely modify the day-to-day lives of physicians.

Not too long ago, many health care experts forecasted the biggest punch, in terms of loss in compensation, to be taken by primary care physicians.

Some physicians fear the worst with the never-ending media buzz, relating to the healthcare overhaul. Some areas of concern include private-practice physicians-turned-hospital employees, most notably, how working for entities will alter the lifestyles of independent healthcare providers.

The Associated Press, in a recent article, discussed a slew of physicians’ uncertainties, with top areas of concern including: rising numbers of uninsured or underinsured patients, Medicare crises, physician shortages, avoidance in primary care (by new doctors who incurred major medical school debt), and modified pay, in regards to providing physician services as hospital employees.

Not too long ago, many health care experts forecasted the biggest punch, in terms of loss in compensation, to be taken by primary care physicians. Experts speculated specialty care physicians to experience little change, or an increased compensation.

However, data collected in the Medical Group Management Association’s Physician Compensation and Production Survey Report — a “go-to benchmarking source,” used in determining physician compensation — shows us that surprisingly, it is mostly specialty care physicians who are suffering compensation losses.

Within the report’s 2010 data, are findings that shed some light on previously grey areas in health care. For instance, “radiologists earned a median compensation of $471,253, a decrease of 1.58 percent, while patient care providers, who practice internal medicine, earned $205,379 in median compensation, an increase of 4.21 percent since 2009.”

In an MGMA press release, company representative Jeffrey B. Milburn notes some circumstances that can contribute to differences in physician compensation. Such factors include, “the supply and demand for primary care or specialty physicians may influence compensation, while a high level of competition between groups or specific specialties may provide an opportunity for payers to reduce reimbursement.

"Location desirability is another factor influencing competition and compensation," Milburn said. "Some areas have a much higher ratio of physicians to population, and one might think this would lead to increased competition and lower compensation. But, the usual laws of supply and demand aren't always at work in healthcare."

FierceHealthcare.com recently summarized the following median compensations for variant patient care providers: radiologists: $471,253 (a decrease of 1.58 percent since 2009), pediatric/adolescent medicine physicians: $192,148 (an increase of 0.39 percent since 2009), internists: $205,379 (an increase of 4.21 percent since 2009), and family practitioners (without obstetrics): $189,402.

Almost 60,000 physicians contributed to this year’s Physician Compensation and Production Survey Report; it is considered one of the country’s top compensation surveys within the physician services sector.

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Suzanna Mahler
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