New model, more money for family docs

A new practice-level financial model described in the report "Future of Family Medicine" estimates that a five-physician practice could see a 26 percent increase in compensation if it implemented this model and continued to use the current fee-for-service system of payment. That would be a change from $167,457 to $210,288 in mean total annual compensation per doctor.

"Depending on how the payment fee is structured, the compensation could be competitive," says Stephen Spann, MD, MBA, of the department of family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and a member of a task force that provides guidance on how family physicians can transform their current practice into this new model.

Spann emphasizes that the new model isn't just identifying new sources of revenue that the family physician can seek. "It's not about doing more tests, or cranking more patients through, or giving more injections to remove wrinkles. It's about efficiency and using a team approach to leverage the family physician's expertise and knowledge."

Estimated effect on physician compensation
  Change in compensation per physician
Feature of new model With reduction in hours worked ($) With current work hours ($)
Open access scheduling 9,133 9,133
Online appointment 5,752 5,752
Electronic health records 3,398 15,573
Group visits (8,769) 15,411
E-visits (7,649) (3,786)
Chronic disease management (8,591)  
Web-based information (2,000) (2,000)
Leverage clinical staff (6,121) 9,699
Clinical practice guidelines software (3,877) 5,664
Outcomes analysis (2,180) (2,180)
Change in compensation with new model (20,904) 42,831
Change (%) -12 +26
Note: Numbers in parentheses indicate loss. If a physician used increases in productivity created by the new model to reduce hours worked, income is estimated to fall by 12 percent. This reduction in income is less than the reduction of hours worked.
Source: The Lewin Group

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