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Physicians’ Salaries a Drop in the Healthcare Bucket

Physicians’ Salaries a Drop in the Healthcare Bucket
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Based on a compilation of data from the AMA, CMS, and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Jackson Healthcare—a healthcare staffing and technology company—has found that physician compensation accounts for only about 8% of total annual healthcare costs in the United States.


In 2009, overall U.S. healthcare spending was $2.5 trillion, according to the latest estimates from CMS. Of that total, $505 billion accounts for physician and clinical services. Physician compensation accounted for 37% of total collections ($186 billion; 7.5% of total U.S. healthcare spending), according to MGMA.

When Jackson Healthcare used the AMA’s most recent statistics on the number of physicians practicing in the United States along with 2009 salary figures from a 2010 MGMA report, it determined that the annual aggregate physician salaries total $216 billion, representing 8.6% of total U.S. healthcare costs.

”At 8% of total healthcare costs, if physicians worked for free, we would still have a serious cost problem,” said Richard Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. ”What this figure shows is that physician pay is not the primary contributor to healthcare costs.”

Physician’s Weekly wants to know…

  • In your opinion, what can be done to help spread the word to the public, and would doing so help alleviate negative perceptions about physicians in regard to salaries and reimbursement?
  • What do you feel are the primary contributors to healthcare costs?
  • What can be done to eliminate or reduce these costs, if anything?

2 Comments

  1. Adjust for hours worked vs these physicians as well as 300k debt load for new graduates and people may start looking at the real issue-corporate profits

    Lower pay during residency, fellowships. About half, as well as longer post secondary education and training

    5-6% would probably end up being the real figure that represents how this is a non issue

    We have a far more complicated patient population as well compared to these with more poverty, violence and drug addiction. Our standard of living is much worse for those earning minimum wage and far reaching health consequences

    Reply
  2. Facts and common sense were never the reason Obama was elected. As a society how much better to receive something for giving nothing. Perhaps 30 years ago insurance and business did not have a piece of the healthcare pie. They saw it was lucrative and made sure to get a slice. Why is it that as a physician my hospital controls what prescriptions I am allowed to write financially punishing me if I write anything that is not generic regardless of the fact that these other medications are prescribed deliberately because they are more effective and in some circumstances no generic equivalent exists?

    Because the hospital gets money from the feds if they control physicians in this way.

    Forget salary for a moment….the infringement on my autonomy to do what is right or to even practice medicine is stripped from my hands

    Reply

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