Is the payment gap between specialists and PCPs diminishing? — 5 takeaways

The demand for primary care physicians is increasing and the once large payment gap between specialists and PCPs may be lessening, Diagnostic Imaging reports.

Here are five takeaways:

1. In 2015, 52.5 percent of PCPs made between $175,001 and $250,000, with this figure falling to 45.8 percent of PCPs this year. However, the number of PCPs making between $250,001 and $350,000 rallied 5 percent, reaching 26.39 percent of PCPs this year.

2. While PCPs are making more money, specialists still make more, on average. Of surgical specialists responding to Physicians Practice's Physician Compensation Survey, almost 40 percent reported income surpassing $450,001 annually.

3. Merely 2.3 percent of PCPs reported making more than $450,001 each year.

4. The American Academy of Medical Colleges estimates the United States will face a shortage of up to 31,100 PCPs by 2025. A New England Journal of Medicine study found the difference in income over a 35-year to 40-year career between subspecialists and PCPs is $3.5 million.

5. However, experts predict PCPs may accrue more money as healthcare transitions to value-based care.

"As we go to value-based care, if [physicians are] in a Patient-Centered Medical Home… there is a chance for them to make more money than they ever have in the past [for coordinating care]," said Kurt Mosely, vice president of strategic alliances for Irvine, Calif.-based physician recruiting firm, Merritt Hawkins. "Value-based care is centered around primary-care [physicians] because they are the first point of contact."

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