A new survey of the relationship between Colorado medical groups and third-party payers found that doctors outside the Denver metropolitan area receive 12.7% higher reimbursement than those in the city. "It's an interesting phenomenon because rural doctors have always complained that they don't get paid as much as doctors in metropolitan areas. That might be the case for Medicaid, but for (other payers), it's a question of supply-and-demand," said William Jessee, president and chief executive officer of the Medical Group Management Association, which conducted the survey. Rural doctors often have "more leverage than (doctors in) urban areas," Jessee said.
The survey, the first ever of payer performance with Colorado group practices, is a pilot project of the MGMA. It is designed to "increase awareness of physicians, payers and the public of the prices actually paid for insured physician services, and of the performance of Colorado health insurers," the MGMA said. The association said it surveyed 51 practices, with a median practice size of three full-time physicians. It found that overall satisfaction with payers was 2.1, or fair, on a scale of 1 to 4 (1: poor; 2: fair; 3: good; 4: excellent). The satisfaction rate for Denver-area medical practices was 1.92, and the score averaged 2.19 in other areas. -- by Michael Romano