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All types of physicians in academic practices enjoyed steady pay hikes last year, with primary care physicians leading the way with median 11.9% pay bumps, according to a new study. The figures come from the Medical Group Management Association of Englewood, CO, and its "Academic Practice Faculty Compensation & Production Survey Report" and "Academic Practice Management Compensation Survey."
Median compensation for all faculty members in academic practice increased during the 2000 fiscal year, according to the survey. Professors and associate professors enjoyed a 5% pay raise, and associate professors and professors in primary care saw their pay increase 3%.
The median pay for chief department administrators with clinical operations increased $1,000 to $83,000 during 2000, the survey found. Median compensation for associate/assistant administrators, however, dropped $510 to $49,960.
A New York Federal District Court judge ruled in July that Medicare must disclose the results of a consumer-initiated investigation that found a doctor provided inadequate quality care or committed errors that injured the patient.
The court found that the federal Medicare statute entitled a beneficiary who files a complaint to know whether medical services they received met professionally recognized standards of health care, regardless of whether the doctor in question consents to having the investigatory findings made public. The ruling overturns a federal policy that relied on a confidential physician peer review process to evaluate medical treatment complaints filed by Medicare patients.
In recent months, Medicare has added several new services and procedures to its list of reimbursable benefits. If you have not already updated your files, these new coverages include:
• Preventive. Screenings for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers are now covered. Beginning in January 2002, Medicare also will cover annual glaucoma screenings and medical nutrition therapy by registered dietitians for beneficiaries with diabetes and renal disease.
• Sun-induced skin lesions. Medicare now provides national coverage for treatment of common sun-induced skin lesions, which can develop into skin cancer. The decision to give uniform coverage for removal of actinic keratoses is intended to eliminate perceived inconsistencies in payment criteria among Medicare contractors.
• Urinary tract. Sacral nerve stimulation for the treatment of urinary incontinence is now covered. To qualify, patients with urge incontinence or urgency-frequency syndrome must also have failed more conservative treatments, such as behavior modification, drug therapy, or other surgical interventions.