Primary Care Docs Average More Hospital Revenue Than Specialists

A survey of hospital CFOs shows primary care physicians generated a combined average of $1,566,165 for their affiliated hospitals in the last year. Other specialties generated a combined annual average of $1,424,917, the lowest average in five years, data shows.

4 comments on "Primary Care Docs Average More Hospital Revenue Than Specialists"
RB (5/21/2013 at 12:49 PM)

Misleading conclusions, I agree. One conclusion I drew without knowing more facts than published in this article is that primary care doctors order more tests compared to specialists who perhaps practice more cost-efficient medicine. I'm a cardiologist and once, in a past life employed at a local hospital, I was told during my review that I didn't order enough echoes (based on what they expected when they hired me). Not every heart problem requires an echo to diagnose or treat.
Mary O'Brien (5/20/2013 at 3:04 PM)

"We recognize that the majority of this bump is because more of their physicians are employed now so there is greater control," he says. "These health systems have formulated these vast employee networks and it is no secret that an employed physician is going to be much more apt and even directed in some cases to push a lab or a test or a procedure or a referral down the hall and not down the street. They aren't going to send it to an independent imaging group or an independent lab like they used to. In essence that is not really creating new money. That is just pulling that money within the hospital walls." This comment also raises the issue that all these ancillary services being driven into the hospital setting by employed physicians will increase the cost of health care . The same service performed in the outpatient settings of independant providers are in most cases much more cost effective than when performed in the hospital setting.
P.Yadav (5/20/2013 at 2:16 PM)

Acquisition of small practices by bigger hospitals is the norm leaving the combined revenue unquestionably greater. It is important to point out that it takes a lot (time,energy,capital,risk)to establish a specialty clinic/practice hence, fewer available for acquisition. Most specialists like to work as employees from the beginning of their career. The difference in revenue may have to do more with market forces playing out than the so mentioned automatic shift of power towards PCPs in healthcare. I agree with the comment above- Several questions are left unanswered like how the revenue was calculated, did it include the referral cut for in hospital PCPs?
J. Kuriyan (5/20/2013 at 10:16 AM)

The analysis is confusing on multiple levels and, not suprisingly, the conclusion is also misleading. If the idea is to compare the "referral" value of PCPs and specialists to a hospital then you must consider only the referrals from PCPs who are NOT employed by the hospital. Clearly, if a hospital employs PCPs then all income attributed to a PCP is added to the revenue of a hospital since it is highly unlikely that they will refer anyone to another hospital. The other confusing point is this. What are the hospital procedures that are being credited to a PCP? If a hospital PCP consults a cardiologist and a procedure ie performed in the hospital, who gets the credit? The resident PCP or the specialist. In normal situations the credit would go to the specialist entirely. If the intent of the article is to show that increasingly PCPs are becoming more valuable to hospitals than specialists then the point has not been made.


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