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Survey: Rising practice overhead costs may cause a decrease in physician income

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Physicians may technically be receiving a higher income this year, but due to higher practice overhead, many are likely to report slightly lower incomes than in previous years according to the results of a new survey released last month.

Physicians Practice 2012 Physician Compensation Survey

The Physicians Practice’s 2012 Physician Compensation Survey surveyed 1,311 doctors and staff, discussing areas such as personal income, practice overhead, practice outlook in addition to any financial issues.

The survey found fewer physicians than ever owned their own practice or was a partner in their own practice. Instead, many hospitals and health systems continued to grow by acquiring practices. Those type of practices now account for more approximately 44 percent of practices. Some smaller group practices have also consolidated.

Physicians say their income isn’t guaranteed

Three out of 10 physicians said that at least 20 percent of their income is not guaranteed income, but instead is based on aspects such as productivity and patient satisfaction. The general feeling among most respondents when describing their net income from their practices was “disappointing.”

Total compensation was closely tied with specialty areas. The survey found that nearly 40 percent of primary care physicians along with a majority of pediatricians made less than $150,000, but only 29 percent of OBGYNs and 10 percent of radiologist fell into the same category.

Will physicians face pay cuts?

Another worry as the new year looms without a deal to avoid the “financial cliff” in place, is that 2013 will bring a 27 percent cut in payments to physicians when treating Medicare patients.  Currently, 14.6 respondents said their practice is no longer accepting new Medicare patients while another 4 percent said their practice has stopped seeing Medicare patients altogether.  If there is a major cut in the amount of money reimbursed to doctors by Medicare in 2013, more practices may join those practices in avoiding treating Medicare patients.

If you are a new physician or are switching practices, get some helpful tips here about how to negotiate the best compensation package for you and get tips on calculating your worth as a physician.

Check out more information about compensation from MGMA’s data here >>>

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