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June 1990

The Changing World of Medical Reimbursement

Author Affiliations

Torrance, Calif.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116(6):662-663. doi:10.1001/archotol.1990.01870060020001

The changes occurring in the world of physician reimbursement are as earth-shaking in the practice of medicine as the San Francisco earthquake and, perhaps, as devastating.

To understand the havoc wreaked, a little background information would be helpful. Let us start with the different forms of physician compensation, which generally breaks down into three groups: fee for service (catch it while you can), discounted fees for service (rapidly rising in popularity), and capitation (still on the increase, but having problems).

Fee-for-service medicine is, of course, the preferred form of physician reimbursement and is the only form of payment generally used by physicians who practice cosmetic surgery exclusively. However, most members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic Reconstructive Surgery and/or American Association of Head Neck Surgeons, in addition to cosmetic surgery, also practice, to varying degrees, a broad spectrum of head and neck surgery. Because these services are frequently compensated

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