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How declining physician pay will alter the healthcare industry

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CMS has proposed another physician pay cut in its Medicare physician fee schedule proposed for 2023. Seven physicians leaders were asked what the healthcare industry will look like if physician reimbursement continues to drop. This is how they responded:

Editor’s note: These responses were edited lightly for clarity and length.

Cory Calendine, MD. Orthopedic surgeon at the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee (Franklin): The outcome of this continued declining reimbursement combined with rising costs will be additional physician employment by larger health systems (seeking shelter from the financial storm) and a reduction in the physician workforce over time. Presumably, a portion of the care can be provided by [advanced practice providers]; however, there will likely be declining quality and availability of physician services. The physician spend represents a small portion of the total Medicare spend, making this approach seem shortsighted, if not entirely inappropriate. More to the point, this path is unsustainable and will lead to system collapse if unchecked.

Matt Mazurek, MD. Assistant professor of clinical anesthesiology at Yale School of Medicine (New Haven, Conn.): A continued decline in payments will accelerate the current trends for physicians to become employed. Seventy percent of physicians are now […]

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