CMS's lowest vs. highest-paid physicians: 5 key points

Practice Management

The highest-paid surgeons by CMS bill five times higher than the lowest paid surgeons, according to a study published in Surgery.

The study authors investigated provider and regional payment variation to surgeons from CMS with data released for 2012. The data included Medicare B participants in the fee-for-service program. The researchers found:


1. The services-per-beneficiary ratios were:


• 20th percentile: 1.6
• 40th percentile: 2.2
• 60th percentile: 3.1
• 80th percentile: 5.0


2. The surgeons who earned more offered more services per beneficiary. There is a precipitous increase from the lowest docile to the highest docile.


3. The charges between the physicians were consistently greater than payments by a factor of three.


4. The female providers had lower ratios on a multivariate analysis of services per beneficiary ratio.


5. There was a regional variation in the ratio of services per beneficiary.


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