Physician Practice: The 2014 Physicians Compensation Survey

calculator-stethoscope-1004851-m.jpgPhysician compensation as a whole has continued to stagnate during 2014, according to Physician Practice’s 2014 Physician Compensation Survey. As compensation models morph and develop with the new emphasis upon value-based care, it remains to be seen how physician compensation will change in the coming years. This very important healthcare industry issue affects all of us. It also involves interesting irony in the enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, touted by proponents as geared to improve patient “access” to health care (or “coverage” under an insurance plan), yet perpetuating (according to the analysis of some opponents) pressures that contribute to the current primary care physician shortage by increasing the administrative frustrations of practicing medicine and creating strong downward pressure on reimbursement.

Atlanta/Augusta Georgia Business and Health Care Law Firm

The challenging business and regulatory environment for doctors continues to drive physician consideration of employment by hospital systems. A recent report by Merritt Hawkins found that over 90% of new physician job openings will “feature employment by hospitals, medical groups, community health centers or other healthcare facilities” which “signal[s] the continued decline of physician private practice. Many physicians, though still preferring independence (see our blog November 25, 2014 post), continue to perceive employment opportunities as a way to reduce financial risks and soften the harsh requirements of a complex, regulatory business environment for the delivery of their services.

The 2014 Survey breaks down and details many aspects of physician compensation and shows that physician compensation is somewhat stagnate, compared to the 2013 Survey. Some of the important findings of the survey are highlighted below:

– Personal income compared to previous year

Down by more than 10%: 16.4%
Down by 5 – 10%: 7.1%
Down by less than 5%: 3.9%
Same: 42%
Up by less than 5%: 10.2%
Up by more than 10%: 10.3%

– Feeling about net income from practice

Excellent: (11.9%)
Pretty good: (23.6%)
About right: (13.7%)
Slightly disappointing: (31.7%)
Highly disappointing: (19.1%)

– Steps taken to increase revenue:

Increased patients seen: 33.3%
Taken outside work: 29.2%
Nothing: 28.9%
Changed to concierge or direct pay: 8.6%

– Employment Description

Owner/partner: 40.4%
Employed physician of hospital/health system: 44.8%
Employed by independent practice: 14.8%

– The cost of professional malpractice insurance (excluding ob/gyn or surgical specialist):

Up to $7,000: 45.4%
$7,000 – $10,000: 22.2%
$10,000 – $15,000: 7.9%
$15,000 – $20,000: 9.4%
More than $20,000: 5.1%

– Accepts Medicare

Yes: 76.9%
No: 23.1%

– Accepts Medicaid

Yes: 65%
No: 35%

– Accepts ACA Exchange Patients

Yes: 74.1%
No: 25.9%

– Affect of ACA

No effect to date: 47.3%
See more patients: 13.2%
Harder time getting paid: 11.4%
Larger number of Medicaid patients: 11%
One or more plans dropped by insurer: 8.7%

Georgia Health Care Lawyer

Our business and health care law firm represents physicians and other health care providers, businesses and professionals. Contact our Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia physician practice law firm if you have any questions: (404) 685-1662 (Atlanta) or (706) 722-7886 (Augusta).

* Disclaimer: Thoughts shared here do not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss your legal issue.

Source: 2014 Physicians Compensation Survey
Merritt Hawkins Report

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