The Senate has further tweaked its doc fix legislation to restore the extension to six months (from June 1 through Nov. 30) and the pay raise to 2.2 percent, reports a Senate Finance Committee Republican advisor. In Northern Michigan, the doc fix can’t come soon enough, as yet more physicians contemplate not accepting any more Medicare patients. The legislation continues to see revisions in the Senate, following the U.S. House refusal to consider the doc fix as a stand-alone bill. (TwitDoc, WWTV/WWUP-TV News)
But primary care physicians saw a 2.8 percent median compensation increase in 2009, according to a Medical Group Management Association survey. MGMA attributed the rise to employers’ and payers’ increased commitment to primary care, but noted threats to Medicare payments still exist.
The ROAD continued to be the best pay-off careerwise. Dermatologists’ pay rose 12.2 percent due to elective procedures and increased demand, while ophthalmologists saw a 7.7 percent increase in 2009 from laser refractive surgery. Subspecialists were still better paid, but careers that saw declines included OB/GYN (1.1 percent) and invasive cardiology (0.2 percent). HEM/ONC continued a slow, flat trend, due to declining reimbursement for administering drugs — a trend they partly compensated for by treating more patients with the better-paid therapeutics. (MGMA, ACP InternistWeekly)
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*