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Physicians' income is in decline.

Though they remain in the top income bracket, doctor's wages for medically related activities fell by 7 percent between 1995 and 2003, when adjusted for inflation, while their counterparts in other industries saw roughly the same percentage as an increase in salary, according to a national study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). HSC researcher and coauthor of the study Ha T. Tu, M.P.A., concluded that "Flat or declining fees from both public and private payers appear to be a major factor underlying declining real incomes for physicians." Other key findings are:

* Average total weekly hours physicians spent on medically related activities fell from 55.5 to 53.2;

* Of that total, physicians spent more time directly caring for patients; * Total volume of physician services increased dramatically, primarily due to the availability of new tests and procedures.

Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D, HSC president and study coauthor, states that, "The downward trend in real incomes since the mid-1990s likely is an important driver of growing physician unwillingness to provide such pro bono work as charity care and serving on hospital committees." The study also concludes that growth in the test/procedure arena accounts for faster growth in medical specialists' incomes over primary care physicians.
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Publication:Health Management Technology
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2006
Previous Article:Medicare payments for physicians may increase.
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