Distributions of Industry Payments to Massachusetts Physicians
New England Journal of Medicine, 2013
Posted: 7 May 2013 Last revised: 22 May 2013
Date Written: May 1, 2013
Some states have mandated systematic public disclosure of payments made by drug- and device-makers to health care practitioners. We used Massachusetts data to characterize the distribution of payment types and the variation among medical specialties.
The 30 months’ of data included 32,227 reported payments to 11,734 Massachusetts physicians, for a total of $76.7 million. The most common form of payment was food. Compensation for bona fide services was the payment type with the highest value.
We found that 25% of currently licensed Massachusetts physicians received at least one payment during the study period. Prevalence ranged by specialties from pediatricians (12%) and family practitioners (21%) to urologists (61%) and gastroenterologists (57%). The highest average per-physician amounts were received by orthopedic surgeons ($18,446) and physicians in various specialties within internal medicine, including endocrinology ($17,407), infectious diseases ($15,922), and pulmonology ($13,027). The policy implications are briefly discussed.
Keywords: distributions of payments, payments to health care practitioners, industry payments
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