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Less than half of physicians are satisfied with their compensation

Reason is declining reimbursement rates coupled with an increase in the administrative burden, particularly due to EHRs.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

Medical practice administrators need rigorous financial management and payer negotiations to overcome physician dissatisfaction with their compensation, according to the Medical Group Management Association.

A recent MGMA Stat poll shows that less than half, or 48 percent of physicians, feel satisfied with their compensation. Another 32 percent are not satisfied and 20 percent are unsure.

The reason for the dissatisfaction is declining reimbursement rates coupled with an increase in the administrative burden, particularly due to electronic health records.

[Also: EHRs eating up half of doctors' workday with unpaid labor]

Physicians who responded to the poll said current reimbursement is not enough when compared to the increase in administrative duties that inhibit how many patients they can see per day. This limits their ability to bring their compensation up to median standards, the report said.

Operating costs are increasing faster than practice revenue, many said, which pressures them to work harder or accept lower compensation.

Some of the respondents said they were revising their compensation methodology to reduce the emphasis on productivity and place a portion of their compensation at risk for quality metrics and other patient care measures. 

In this switch from fee-for-service to value-based care, respondents commented that there was no single methodology that would fit all practice situations.

Practice administrators can help ease the physician burden through rigorous financial management and payer negotiations, and also  efficient and effective practice operations, MGMA said.

[Also: Compensation for primary care physicians shows notable uptick in 2016, Medicus Firm report shows]

In developing a compensation plan, the association recommends practice managers talk to physicians about what they like and don't like about their current plan, and model a new version against previous periods of compensation to provide a benchmark for the  effect on salary.

Each week, MGMA Stat texts polling questions on a specific health care topic and then delivers the results by text message. The physician compensation poll was conducted on June 6 and had 1,071 applicable responses.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse

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