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Comment & Response
November 2020

Refining Assumptions About Specialty Compensation Rates

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston
  • 2Department of Otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Surg. 2020;155(11):1085. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.3027

To the Editor Childers and Maggard-Gibbons1 found that overall compensation rates under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule fell within a narrow range for most specialties.1 We applaud their effort to perform a comprehensive assessment that includes a broad range of clinical activities. However, we believe that the study relies on 2 potentially problematic assumptions.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Specialty compensation rates
    Karl Stecher, AB Harvard, MD Maryland | retired neurosurgeon
    Considering and debating these rates, as is done every year or so, ignores the one "elephant:" Considering the intelligence required of the physician, the competition, the long hours and long years of training, the experience, Medicare reimbursement to physicians is equivalent/comparable to regulating reimbursement, (if there were "Gasicare") to gas station owners, and telling them the debate was over whether they were to be paid 50 cents vs 52 cents a gallon for gas. Reimbursement is pathetic. And for nonsurgeons, the hard working pediatricians, FPs, internists...you rate is equally pathetic. For those nonsurgeons with envy at the supposed rates received by surgeons, I assure you that shortfall to surgeons is equally bad.
    Washington has the purse strings and the rules, designed to save money, with no apparent understanding nor concern for physicians. The physicians have no recourse.