TUESDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians' pay for existing patients dropped considerably in 2012, according to the results of the Fee Schedule Survey published Jan. 31 in Physicians Practice.
Noting that pay rates for doctors have declined or remained stable almost every year since 2001, researchers conducted the annual Fee Schedule Survey among more than 1,300 physicians from across the United States to examine their average pay for common medical codes from all of their payers.
According to the report, there was a one-third decrease in the average reimbursement for the lowest-complexity diagnostic code for an existing patient (code 99211), from $30 in 2011 to $20 in 2012. Reimbursement for a patient with a midlevel code (99213) decreased by 27 percent to $49. There was a modest increase seen in pay for most new-patient visits in 2012, with the largest increase (12 percent to $57.20) seen for the least-complex new-patient code (99201). With the exception of the most complex new-patient code, 99205, which decreased slightly, smaller increases were noted for all other new-patient codes. One-fifth of respondents reported that some of their income last year came from non-fee-for-service contracts, with about one-quarter anticipating the same this year.
"Even the modest pay bumps are probably temporary," Bob Keaveney, the editorial director of Physicians Practice, said in a statement. "I think 2013 is going to be another difficult year for physicians, as payers continue to try to control health costs by holding down reimbursement."
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