ST. LOUIS, Nov. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- ECG Management Consultants, a national consulting firm working exclusively with healthcare providers, has released the results of its 2016 Physician Compensation Survey. Once again, overall compensation for primary care physicians (PCPs) and specialists has increased, although not as substantially as last year. In 2016, compensation for PCPs and specialists increased by 1.5% and 3.6%, respectively. More significant is the change in WRVUs. In contrast to the previous year's slight increase, in 2016 WRVUs decreased by 3.6% for PCPs and 1.2% for specialists. The net effect of increased compensation and fewer WRVUs is a 6.0% increase in compensation per WRVU for primary care and 7.4% increase for specialists, significant gains compared to recent years.
With the recent release of the MACRA final rule, provider compensation is an especially salient topic for healthcare organizations. "MACRA represents the most significant change to provider reimbursement since implementation of WRVUs. Taken within the context of CMS's pledge to tie 90% of payments to value by the end of 2018, MACRA is a true game-changer," said Josh Halverson, ECG Principal and head of the firm's Provider Compensation practice. While WRVUs remain the most common indicator used to incentivize physicians, most healthcare organizations have been preparing for the shift to value by incorporating non-production-based incentives into compensation plans. "In 2016, we see an uptick in variable compensation, with more performance indicators based on quality, patient satisfaction, panel size, and adherence to evidence-based medicine. A majority of respondents confirmed they have modified or are planning to modify their compensation models to incorporate value-based metrics," added Halverson. ECG's Physician Compensation Survey is the most comprehensive provider performance study in the healthcare industry. The survey, now in its 17th year, reports detailed compensation and productivity data based on responses from more than 26,000 healthcare providers across the country, including more than 5,500 advanced practice providers (APPs), with benchmarks from 91 specialties. In addition to collecting and reporting on compensation and production, ECG's survey assesses a multitude of factors that affect a provider's performance and ability to generate income, including compensation planning methodologies, provider benefits, recruiting, retention, operating policies, and healthcare IT practices. Other key findings from this year's survey include the following: