December 16, 2015
Lifestyle changes are impacting the health of most individuals, including the aging population, in the US. This has necessitated changes in healthcare reforms and the way policies shape these reforms is leading to major changes in the way physicians are practicing medicine. A glance at the Medscape survey conducted early in 2015 showed that the primary care doctors were earning an annual average of $195,000 as compared to the specialty health providers, who are earning an estimated $284,000. The top income earners are the Orthopedics, stated to earn an average of $421,000 annually. Next in line are the cardiologists and gastroenterologists, estimated to earning more than $370,000 annually! And those health providers who get paid the least are the pediatricians and physicians in family practices, earning an average of less than $200,000 annually. Assumptions drawn from these statistics very clearly paint a picture of the kind of ailments and diseases that are affecting the Americans the most, and increasing the revenues of such specialty health providers
Inaccurate medical coding and billing can significantly shrink profit margins due to the coding complexity brought in by ICD-10 system. However, despite this complexity and healthcare reforms with challenging regulations, high revenues are still being attested to by certain specialty health providers. Given the focus these specialties give, their secret to high earnings could be that a majority of them, based on surveys conducted, often outsource not just their medical coding and billing systems to qualified experts who have the knowledge to deal with the complexities brought in by the ICD-10 coding and healthcare regulations., but also certain administrative functions like maintenance of Electronic Health records, verification and eligibility of insurance coverage, etc that is all part of the Revenue Cycle Management (RCM).
Despite the orthopedics being the highest paid among the medical profession, earning $421,000 annually, this section of affected people stands fourth in terms of the death in numbers among the most popular diseases. Billing of Durable Medical Equipment (DME) as part of their practice, is stated to be one of the revenue generators, given the sub-specialization that orthopedics practice. Right from a minor fall off a bike to a car crash, the presence of an orthopedic is always essential. Sub-specialists like radiologists are often called in for their services, and are known to earn an income of $351,000 annually.
Cardiologists are the second most highest paid among the medical profession, earning $376,000 annually, after the Orthopedics! Heart disease, given the lifestyle changes and the aging population, notwithstanding the strokes that affect all ages today, remains the leading cause of death in the US, and accounts for 1 in every 4 deaths.
Specialists mean more tests and more expensive care. People suffering from cancer, which could be a variety of cancers, is the second most popular and killer disease that people in the US encounter. Gastroenterologists, stated to have an annual income of $370,000, stand the third highest paid specialty health provider. They are known to treat cancers like colorectal cancers and liver disease cancers.
Surgery for most diseases is not just complicated but can be expensive too. It always requires the services of an anesthesiologist, and maybe a plastic surgeon as well, and both are known to earn salaries in the range of $358,000 and $354,000 annually, respectively.
It is thus noticeable that being a specialty healthcare provider is a very rewarding practice. However, with ICD-10 coding system, many of these specialty physicians could enhance their revenues further. The increasing population of older adults in the United States is expected to reach 97.8 million people, comprising 28.7 percent of the entire U.S. population, by 2020. The Affordable Care Act (ACT) popularly known as the Obamacare Act, has initiated that every citizen henceforth will need to be health insured. The consequence is already being felt, an increase in footfalls, bringing in preventive treatment, and the changing Value Based Performance payment with referrals, is definitely a more positive step towards a more robust Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) process.
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