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From time to time on Neurosurgery Blog, you will see us cross-posting or linking to items from other places when we believe they hit the mark on an issue. Today’s post originally appeared in The Hill on Nov. 13, 2021. In the op-ed titled “Physician pay cuts are another threat to independent practices,” Richard Menger, MD, MPA, assistant professor of neurosurgery and political science at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Ala., discusses how the 9% Medicare physician pay cuts for medical services starting Jan. 1, 2022, will have enormous consequences for the entire health care system.

According to Dr. Menger, “Medicare physician pay has increased only 11 percent from 2001-2020. Meanwhile, the cost of running a medical practice increased 39 percent from 2001-2020.  Adjusting for inflation and the cost of running a practice, Medicare physician pay dropped 22 percent over the time period.” He continued, “Medicare payment to hospitals increased nearly 60 percent over the same time period.”

Medicare physician pay cuts place external pressure on physicians and drives them into more hospital-employed practices. Hospitals are merging and consolidating around regional health care markets on an astounding basis. Dr. Menger noted that a collection of the country’s leading surgical societies, the Alliance of Specialty Medicine and the Surgical Care Coalition, recognize this downward pressure as impossible to maintain.

Click here to read the full article in The Hill.

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