An annual physician compensation survey recently fielded by the Medical Group Management Association, or MGMA, provides an opportunity for family physicians to have input into decisions regarding physician payment methods.
With its 2011 Physician Compensation and Production Survey, the MGMA is collecting data from a variety of medical specialties. Family physicians are encouraged to participate and have from now to March 11 to answer survey questions. MGMA membership is not required for participation. The 2011 report -- reflecting 2010 physician data -- will be available in June.
Todd Evenson, M.B.A., assistant director of MGMA survey operations, told AAFP News Now that last year's survey garnered a nearly 19 percent response rate and represented almost 58,000 health care professionals, including nearly 6,500 family physicians.
Evenson said it was important that family physicians -- representing all practice-size groups -- participate because the data compiled in the final report are used by agencies such as CMS and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to make recommendations regarding physician payment methods.
"The federal government is looking for credible data on the actual cost of operating medical practices," said Evenson. So it's in the best interest of family physicians to have their practice statistics included in the mix.
There's also value to individual practices, which, by virtue of their survey participation, can export report data free of charge. Physicians can compare data from their practices with that from similar practices around the country to see where they rank regarding such benchmarks as compensation and work relative value units, said Evenson.
The MGMA survey results also are used by AAFP leaders to make policy decisions on behalf of family physicians, said Gail Jones, who oversees practice management in the AAFP's Practice Support Division. And the survey data are mined by Academy staff members to create background reports, articles and online resources to assist members.
"The value of the data to the Academy increases as the number of family physicians participating goes up," said Jones.
According to Evenson, the survey contains fewer than 20 required questions and can usually be completed by a practice manager in about an hour. A simple registration process is required to enter the survey system.