Low reimbursements coupled with the overall decrease of physician revenue from employment models create a perfect storm for physician compensation.
Taif Mukhdomi, MD, interventional pain physician at Pain Zero in Columbus, Ohio, connected with Becker's to discuss where physicians are losing money.
Note: This response has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Dr. Taif Mukhdomi: Unfortunately, physicians are losing money in multiple scenarios in medicine. The most prominent loss of physician revenue is Medicare's consistent decreasing of physician reimbursement in office settings while supporting hospital-setting healthcare services. This trend affects all insurances as Medicare is the benchmark of most if not all healthcare insurance reimbursement. The overall decrease of physician revenue from employment models is based on the commoditization of healthcare professionals as systems are trying to minimize costs while providing acceptable care. This squeeze is occurring across many healthcare settings, from standalone urgent care/emergency departments to hospital settings. The value of physicians is still strong among the community and patients; however, care models, for better or worse, are removing physicians' involvement in triage/entry exposure to healthcare, leading to less opportunities. Outside of traditional healthcare systems, physicians may be undervalued as consultants at times. There are many healthcare startups looking for clinical acumen through side gigs or consulting that offer physicians positions at rates that are fractions of their clinical training worth, especially if the physician does not have a background in business, healthcare management or IT. Another opportunity lost came with legislation preventing physicians to take part of ownership in hospitals with the concern of healthcare overutilization, but this stance may be reversed. While there may be scenarios of physicians losing money, nearly 47 percent of physicians are older than 55 and will soon face retirement. This will cause an immediate demand for physician services that should drive value up and salaries along with it.