Billing and Reimbursement
Production (revenue) generation by physician assistants is not widely reported in trade journals or medical surveys, but patient charges can be another key indicator of the financial performance of the PA. The role of the PA within the medical practice can have a direct impact on the amount of patient charges resulting from services provided by the practitioner. For instance, the role of a surgical PA could be primarily limited to pre- and post-surgery evaluation and patient education; services that are usually bundled in the surgeon’s charge for the surgical procedure and not separately billed. In this instance, therefore, revenue generation may not be a proper indicator of financial performance since the work of the PA is intended to relieve the surgeon of these functions and allow him or her to focus more attention on performing billable surgical procedures.
In most situations, however, gross charges generated by the PA are tracked separately by practice managers to evaluate the financial contribution of the PA to the employing organization. The 2008 Medical Group Management Association Physician Compensation and Production Survey reports the median annual gross professional charges for PAs in primary care practices as $373,386. Average annual gross professional charges for surgical PAs is slightly higher at $436,671. It should be noted that these amounts exclude the technical component of all ancillary services such as laboratory and radiology.