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The Status of Physician Practices

By May 4, 2016Commentary

Medical Economics magazine published highlights from its 87th survey of physician practices.  (Medical Economics Survey)   Overall attitudes toward practice performance have improved; 22% expected performance to be better in the next year, compared to 15% in 2013.  And “only” 30% expect things to be worse in the coming year, compared to 39% who thought that in 2013.  Most doctors in various specialties saw modest income increases from 2013 to 2014, although emergency care physicians saw a hefty 12% rise and dermatologists took a large hit of over 16%.  Cardiologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, and urologists have the highest average salary, while family practice, internists and psychiatrists have the lowest.  Practice location doesn’t seem to have a large impact on primary care physician income–inner city, urban, suburban and rural doctors are within 10% or so of each other, with suburban doctors earning the most.  Physician income is also close in various geographic regions of the country.  Malpractice premiums stayed around the same for most physicians.  Premiums are roughly the same in various types of communities, but are noticeably higher in the Northeast than in other geographic regions.  Primary care doctors have worked about the same number of hours per week in the last few years, but the number of patient visits in that time has decreased about by over 5%, probably due to increased administrative time.  Overall, this survey suggests primary care doctors are just muddling along.

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