Primary Care Doctors Make More Rain Than Specialists

Primary care physicians generated $1.56 million in average net revenue in 2012 to their affiliated hospital compared to $1.4 million for specialists, according to a survey of more than 100 hospital chief financial officers by Merritt Hawkins.  In 2010, specialist physicians on average generated nearly $1.6 million while primary care doctors brought hospitals about $1.4 million.

Mark Smith, president of Merritt Hawkins called the trend a “seismic shift,” as health care systems shift away from specialized medical care to primary care.

“Primary care physicians are increasingly employed by hospitals and in new delivery models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs),” Smith said.

ACOs reward doctors and hospitals for working together to improve quality and to control costs. Physicians are critical to an ACO’s success in that doctors need to be a quarterback of sorts in using nurses and other caregivers to manage the medical-care of populations of patients.

ACOs link medical care providers together to improve quality. If the providers in the ACO achieve better outcomes, they divvy up money saved with the health plans.

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