With the backing of the Texas Medical Association and 172 other health care organizations, the American Medical Association recently launched a survey of U.S. physicians to better understand practice expenses and to support medicine's advocacy for physician payment reform.
Mathematica, a well-regarded independent research company, will be administering the Physician Practice Information Survey until April 2024. TMA encourages Texas physicians to respond if they are randomly chosen to participate. Questions will focus on direct patient care hours.
In the latest round, Mathematica will be releasing invitations to a new survey sample of thousands of practices, representing more than 100,000 physicians, in October. By the end of the month, nearly 200,000 physicians will have received communication about this critical effort since initial invitations began on July 31.
“One of the recurring comments that we hear from physicians is that decision-makers and payers are not fully informed about the broad clinical, operational, and financial challenges that their practices face,” TMA, AMA, and others wrote in a support letter. “This study represents your opportunity to communicate accurate financial and operational information to policymakers, including members of Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.”
AMA says physician participation is crucial to calculating physician practice expenses accurately and to correcting out-of-date benchmarks.
"The intent of the survey is to collect updated and accurate data on practice costs which are a key element of physician payment. These data have not been updated since last collected over 15 years ago, and it is critically important to update these data to ensure accurate payment," AMA said.
Your practice may receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org and a USPS priority mail packet from Mathematica that contains a link to the survey as well as supporting information. AMA urges physicians to speak with their practice management colleagues to determine if they have received these communications and ask them to complete this important survey. In the coming weeks or months, Mathematica may ask practices to complete a brief, two-minute survey on the number of weekly hours spent on direct patient care.
The Medicare physician fee schedule, which is used by many private payers, relies on practice cost data from 2006. Such data have been rendered obsolete by major changes, such as rapid inflation and the widespread adoption of electronic health records.
For more information about physician payment reform, check out TMA’s federal advocacy webpage.