Physician Compensation -- A Deeper Dive: Does Money Make Them Happy?

Carol Peckham


April 15, 2014

In This Article

Ancillary Services: A Threatened Source of Revenue?

Ancillary services are still a popular means of bringing in more income. It is estimated that some practices may be able to earn as much as 15% or more from ancillary services.[22] They can be classified into 3 categories: diagnostic, therapeutic, and custodial. At the top of the list in Medscape's survey, about a third of orthopedists offer ancillary services, which may include in-office surgical centers with pain centers, MRI, and physical therapy with orthotics and braces.[23] Anesthesiologists came in second at 31%, with most of their services involving procedures for postoperative pain.[24] Although not at the top of the list, 23% of family physicians provide ancillary services, which can include medication dispensing, weight-loss services, in-office diagnostic tests, nutrition counseling, cosmetic services, and alternative treatments such as acupuncture and massage.

A 2007 report indicates that approximately $8 billion is spent annually on physicians' extra income derived from their ownership in outpatient facilities, including ambulatory surgery centers, diagnostic imaging centers, and diagnostic laboratories.[25] The Stark Law was passed to reduce costs and prevent abuse from self-referral. The law provides exceptions, which include physician or in-office ancillary services and ownership in a publicly held firm. Recently a bill was introduced that would curtail some of these in-office exceptions, including diagnostic services, radiation therapy services and supplies, and physical therapy.


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