Physician Services Spending Recovery Likely to Continue in 2013, Reports OPYS Physician Services

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Spending for physician services and clinical services grew at a faster rate in 2011, and is likely to continue thru 2013.

A slowly improving economy drove a 3.6% increase in spending on physician services in 2011

Spending for physician services and clinical services grew at a faster rate in 2011, and is likely to continue thru 2013. Total US healthcare spending rose 3.9% to reach $2.7 trillion or $8,680 per person in 2011, according to a study by CMS published last weekend the Journal Health Affairs. The article titled: National Health Spending In 2011: Overall Growth Remains Low, But Some Payers And Services Show Signs Of Acceleration, states 2011 is the third consecutive year of relatively slow growth.

Despite slow growth, total spending for physician and clinical services reached $541.4 billion in 2011, representing a 4.3 percent increase over spending in 2010, according to US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of the Census. A rise in healthcare spending of 3.9% still pales in contrast to the robust 6.2% rise back in 2007. Nonetheless, physician services are usually fairly insulated from overall recessions. However, the US healthcare sector is still recovering from the effects of the recession that began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.

In 2011, physician services accounted for 80 percent of the total overall spending for physician and clinical services. According to CMS, this represents a increase from 2.8 in 2010 to 3.6 percent in 2011. Similarly, spending for clinical services increased at a markedly faster rate in 2011, when compared to 2010.

In addition to the healthcare spending increase, according to Modern Healthcare’s Annual Outsourcing Survey, the top 20 outsourcing firms, based on the number of national healthcare clients, reported 13.1% growth between 2010 and 2011. A slowly improving economy drove a 3.6% increase in spending on physician services in 2011, a noticeable improvement over 2.8% growth the year before, the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports.

Complementing traditional physician services spending, and physician outsourcing, the growth of new physician services is gaining in popularity and value. Telemedicine, alternative medicine, and concierge medicine are just a few of the developing non-conventional aspects of contemporary medicine. No matter though the specialty, it does appear that physician services is showing signs of promise in the US healthcare market.

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Elizabeth Lee
OPYS
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