Managed Care

Has primary care earning growth peaked?

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Primary care physicians in group practices, sought after by managed care plans because of their ability to influence a patient's use of medical resources across the board, have long been the darlings of managed care. For several years, their earnings have been rising faster than those of their specialist colleagues — although most of those specialists have remained far better paid in absolute terms. Now there is evidence that "the bloom is off the compensation rose for primary care physicians," in the words of David N. Gans, M.S.H.A., survey operations director for the Medical Group Management Association. The association's annual survey for 1996, reflecting compensation information from 30,812 physicians and mid-level providers in 1,582 practices, shows for the first time since 1992 a smaller percentage increase for primary care doctors than for specialists. The only consolation for primary care practitioners, perhaps? The specialists are working harder than before for their pay.


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