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Here’s How Physician Income Has Been Affected by HIEs in 2016

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Earlier this month, Medscape released its “Physician Compensation Report 2016,”, and according to Carol Peckham over at the publication’s website, the report is based on information collected from “nearly 19,200 physicians in over 26 specialties,” who “disclosed not only their compensation, but also how many hours they work per week, how many minutes they spend with each patient, the most rewarding part of their job, changes to their practice resulting from healthcare reform, and more.”

This time, we look at the survey question: “How has your income been affected by health insurance exchanges?”

“It is still not clear yet how the ACA affects physician income,” Peckham writes. “Many variables will have a role in the ultimate results.”

According to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study, there was “a 3 percent increase in reimbursement in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility and 3.3 percent in nonexpansion states. When physicians who participated in health insurance exchanges last year were asked whether their income was affected, 63 percent reported no change and 11 percent said it had increased. About a quarter (26 percent) experienced a decrease.”

When asked how many hours per week are spent seeing patients, 11 percent of physicians told Medscape they spend fewer than 30 hours on patient visits. Last year, it was 10 percent.

Fifty-one percent said 30 to 45 hours were spent seeing patients; it was 57 percent in the last report.

“The number of hours spent seeing patients has not changed much since last year,” Peckham writes. “…This year, slightly more physicians spent 46 hours or more with patients (34 percent this year and 31 percent last year).

“According to a government analysis, middle-aged physicians work harder than both their younger and older peers. In fact, those between ages 46 and 55 work more hours now than they did in previous years, while younger doctors (36-45) work fewer hours than previously, perhaps because of the increase in women in those age groups, many of whom are working part-time.”

In our next post, we’ll look at the average number of minutes that physicians personally spend with patients.

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