NORWALK, Conn., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- UBM Medica US announces that physician pay for existing patient visits tumbled dramatically last year, dropping by as much as a third as payers continued to reduce costs by cutting pay for services, and began experimenting with "value-based" pay models, according to the results of the Fee Schedule Survey by Physicians Practice, America's Leading Business Journal for Physicians.
Pay rates to doctors have declined or remained flat in virtually every year since Physicians Practice began its annual survey in 2001. But last year's cuts were particularly steep, especially on services to existing patients, said Bob Keaveney, Physicians Practice's editorial director.
For example, average reimbursement for the lowest-complexity diagnostic code for an existing patient (code 99211), dropped by a third, from $30 in 2011 to $20 last year. A midlevel code 99213 dropped 27 percent to $49.
Physicians Practice surveys practices annually on what they are paid on average for common medical codes from all of their payers. The Physicians Practice Fee Schedule Survey, which in 2012 included more than 1,300 respondents from every part of the country, is the only broad-scale analysis of physicians' reimbursement rates.
Pay for most new-patient visits increased modestly last year. The biggest increase was for the least-complex new-patient code, 99201, which rose 12 percent to $57.20. Smaller bumps were seen for the other new-patient codes, except the highest-complexity 99205, which declined slightly.
"Even the modest pay bumps are probably temporary," Keaveney said. "I think 2013 is going to be another difficult year for physicians, as payers continue to try to control health costs by holding down reimbursement."
The survey also found that the switch from a strictly fee-for-service pay model to one designed to pay for "value" has begun. One in five respondents said that some of their income last year came from non-fee-for-service contracts, and about one in four respondents anticipate more of the same this year.
About UBM Medica US
Addressing today's healthcare information needs, UBM Medica US, delivers strategic, integrated communications solutions and comprehensive reach—online, in print, and via custom programs. Improving the effectiveness of healthcare through information and education, UBM Medica US provides unbiased clinical, practical, and business information for physicians, providers, payers, and patients around the world. Through journals, magazines, websites, online communities, drug databases, digital events, and other valuable resources, UBM Medica US also delivers comprehensive communication solutions for the pharmaceutical and related industries. Websites include CancerNetwork.com, ConsultantLive.com, DiagnosticImaging.com, MusculoskeletalNetwork.com, OBGYN.net, PhysiciansPractice.com, PsychiatricTimes.com and SearchMedica.com. UBM Medica US is part of UBM Connect – which provides marketing services across a number of communities, the largest of which are healthcare, medical device design and advanced manufacturing. UBM Connect also includes UBM Studios, the global leader in interactive digital environments. UBM Connect is a UBM plc company. For more information, visit http://www.UBMMedicaUS.com
Jason J. Golden
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SOURCE UBM Medica US