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Doctor pay may depend on patients

An MGMA report poses the possibility that physician reimbursement may come to depend on patient satisfaction and quality metrics

The latest installment of the swooping MGMA Physician Compensation and Production Survey: 2013 Report Based on 2012 Data dubs quality and patient satisfaction as measures expected to have a considerable impact on compensation structures in the coming years.

The current data -- derived from some 60,146 physician and non-physician provider experiences -- tallies the influence of quality metrics on total compensation at 3 percent for primary care physicians and 2 percent for specialists. Although such numbers are small, and with patient satisfaction scores equally minimal in their effect on overall compensation, MGMA prophesizes that "physician compensation will increasingly be tied to these metrics as reimbursement aligns more closely with quality and cost measures."  

[See also: Doctors worried about loss of clinical autonomy, compensation]

"Quality and patient satisfaction metrics are not yet dominant components of physician compensation plans right now, however, as reimbursement models continue to shift, the small changes we've observed recently will gain momentum," said Susan L. Turney, MD, MGMA-ACMPE president and CEO, in a prepared statement. "It's encouraging to see physician practices invested in patient-centered care and continuing to seek ways to better incorporate quality and experience into compensation methodologies."

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The report also noted that median compensation was found to shift from specialty to specialty. Primary care posted at $216,462 in median compensation whereas specialists leveled off at $388,199 (both figures have been adjusted for inflation).