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The Health Care Economy Is Not Favoring the Physician

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed Medicare physician fee schedule for 2023, suggesting cuts to physician pay. Using Medicare jargon, the proposal would decrease the conversion factor by $1.53, representing a 4.4% drop, according to the agency's July 7 press release.

How foot and ankle surgeons are fairing in this battle

As outlined In their report, Trends in Medicare Physician and Facility Fee Reimbursement in Orthopaedics Foot and Ankle, authors Hui et al. examined the 23 most common foot and ankle surgeries based on national payments. Physician reimbursement, hospital outpatient reimbursement data, and hospital inpatient reimbursement data were collected and then adjusted for inflation.

Surgeon vs. hospital

And the winners are … not the surgeons! In fact, physician compensation for foot and ankle procedures is down by 20% over the past 13 years, with a mean compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -1.7%. Hospital inpatient reimbursement has increased by 24.7% over the same time period with a CAGR of +2.3% and outpatient hospital reimbursement increased by 97.2% with a CAGR of +5.1%.

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