Gastroenterologists weigh in on industry trends

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Three gastroenterologists spoke to Becker's about trends they're seeing in the industry — from declining reimbursement to competition with hospitals for talent. 

Allan Peck, MD, gastroenterology specialist in Montgomery, Ohio, told Becker's he's noticed a decline in compensation, particularly with hospital competition. 

"Physician compensation will continue to face downward pressures as the federal government becomes more involved with healthcare changes and hospitals increase their share of bundled payments and cost savings," Dr. Peck said. 

Headvises physicians to explore opportunities to "increase strength through numbers."

Stephen Amann, MD, a gastroenterologist with Digestive Health Specialists in Tupelo, Miss., echoed Dr. Peck's sentiments, saying that physicians should explore ancillary options to offset compensation declines. 

He said he's also noticed cuts in reimbursements to ASCs.  

"Gastroenterology physician compensation clearly decreased in the COVID-19 pandemic. As we work through those losses and work on getting back to full capacity, unfortunately, some insurance companies have made significant cuts in gastroenterology in both physician and ASC reimbursement," he said. "This will have a clear effect on the bottom line and continue to put pressure on gastroenterology compensation."

Dr. Amann advises physicians to seek out ways to work with compensation models and risk- sharing with payers. 

Some gastroenterologists are seeing associate compensation rise as private groups compete with hospital for talent — a trend Russ Arjal, MD, a gastroenterologist at Evergreen Health in Kirkland, Wash., expects to amplify with an aging gastroenterology physician workforce and retirements post-COVID-19. 

Dr. Arjal also said he expects gastroenterology to shift into a virtual-first space in the next five years. 

"This will change compensation models and talent acquisition, as remote cognitive work and flexibility will become a part of the conversation," he said. 


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