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MGMA Survey Finds Gender Disparity in Physician Compensation


New survey shows difference in pay between male and female docs. CMS announces states now have until 2022 to meet Medicaid standards of care requirements.

Welcome to Practice Rounds, our weekly column exploring what's being covered in the larger world of healthcare.

Gender Disparities in Physicians' Compensation

On Wednesday, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) released their 2017 Physician Compensation and Production Survey, revealing a gender disparity in physicians' compensation.

According to survey results, male primary-care physicians are earning 17 percent higher compensation than females, while males in specialty care earn 37 percent more. In addition, male physicians are paid more than 20 percent than females in family medicine and pediatrics. One caveat is they have an average of seven years more experience than their female counterparts who participated in the study. According to the MGMA, there are more females graduating from medical schools than males, so females represent a greater percentage of the physician population that are earlier in their careers.

The study also showed that productivity mattered when it came to the compensation gap, with males in invasive-interventional cardiology making more than 25 percent than females while showing 42 percent greater median work relative value units (RVUs). The largest disparity was seen in general orthopedic surgeons, where males made almost 50 percent more than their females with over 80 percent greater median work RVUs.

The survey compared more than 120,000 providers across more than 6,600 groups in the U.S., including physician-owned, hospital-owned, and academic practices, in addition to providers from across the nation at practices of all sizes.

New Deadline for Medicaid Standards Of Care

Federal standards requiring states to deliver care to Medicaid enrollees at home and in community-based settings will take effect in 2022, three years later than originally planned, CMS said this week.

The standards were set by the Obama Administration in 2014, and they control where over 3 million Medicaid enrollees receive care. The rule was an effort to create a federal standard to improve the quality of care that disabled patients receive. States have tried, and had trouble, making the necessary changes on their own, due to lack of funding and difficulty changing long-standing relationships with providers, according to Kaiser Health News.

In addition, the rule requires states to provide opportunities for Medicaid enrollees to engage in community life, control their own money, and pursue employment. It also ensures that enrollees in group homes get more privacy and housing choices, including places where non-disabled people live.

Cross-state Licensing Expands

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), designed to expedite state medical licensure for physicians looking to practice in multiple states, is now accepting applications in Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The IMLC, which was agreed upon in 18 states in 2016, currently has 10 states - Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Utah - preparing to accept applications for verification and background checks but cannot act as the state of principal licensure.

Here's how the licensing works, according to the AMA:

• Eligible physicians can designate a member state as the state of principal license.

• The state of principal license provides credentials and verification for the physician’s eligibility to the MLC commission via a letter of qualification (LOQ).

• The physicians then select the states in which they wish to hold a medical license.

• The commission transmits the LOQ and fees to the additional state boards.

• Upon receipt of the physician's information and fees, the state medical boards will grant the additional licenses.

Before the IMLC, physicians looking to treat patients across state lines had to apply through separate processes. According to the IMLC, ideal candidates for the program are physicians with positive practice histories. The IMLC estimates that 80 percent of physicians meet the interstate licensure criteria.

Quote of the week:

"But in a short period of time I understood everything there was to know about healthcare. And we did the right negotiating, and actually it's a very interesting subject."

President Trump during an interview with Time Magazine.

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