Reminder: Respond to AMA practice expense survey to ensure appropriate Medicare payment rates

July 11, 2023

CMA urges all physicians who receive the survey to respond to ensure appropriate Medicare payment rates.

The California Medical Association (CMA) is one of more than 170 health care organizations supporting a new national study by the American Medical Association (AMA) that will collect representative data on physician practice expenses. The aim of the AMA Physician Practice Information Survey is to better understand the costs faced by today’s physician practices to support physician payment advocacy. The study will serve as an opportunity to communicate accurate financial information to policymakers, including members of Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The Medicare physician payment schedule, maintained by CMS and used by many other payors, currently relies on 2006 cost information to develop practice expense relative values, the Medicare Economic Index and resulting physician payments. As the U.S. economy and health care system have undergone substantial changes since that time, including inflation and the wide-spread adoption of electronic health records and other information technology systems, practice expense payments no longer accurately reflect the relative resources that are typically required to provide physician services.

AMA has contracted with Mathematica, an independent research company with extensive experience in survey methods as well as health care delivery and finance reform, to conduct the study.

The survey will be administered from July 2023 – April 2024. Physicians will be randomly selected to participate. If contacted AMA and Mathematica will make data collection as convenient for you and your practice as possible and assure you that your individual data will be kept private. Participation is voluntary but critical to the success of efforts to support accurate resource-based physician payment.  

CMA strongly urges all physicians who are selected for the surveys to respond as soon as possible. We recognize that it is a time-consuming survey, but it is very important that we get enough responses to have accurate and statistically valid physician cost data.

Data from this survey will be used to help determine physician payment levels. Because of California’s high practice costs, it will be extremely important for California physicians to respond so that Medicare reimbursement rates truly cover the cost of practicing in California. CMS proposed an alternative last year using surrogate practice cost data, not AMA survey data, and it would have cut California physician Medicare payments by $86 million. 

For more information, see the Mathmatica PowerPoint presentation summarizing the effort and timeline.


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